Facebook acquires Oculus VR for $2 BILLION

Posted March 27, 2014 by Nick Lynch in Editorial

You may have noticed in the media that the world of virtual reality gaming is making quite a comeback as of late. Just like 3D made it’s resurgence from cinema screens of the 50’s, to the screen in your living room, it looks like the technology of virtual reality is ready to become more and more commonplace. This is largely due to an American company called Oculus VR, and their flagship virtual reality unit – ‘Rift’.

The Rift project began its life on crowd-funded website Kickstarter back in 2012 and amassed over $1 million to fund its project from donors (read: gamers) all over the world, quadrupling its target of $250,000. You have yourselves to thank for that one. So, the Oculus Rift was born and has been headlining gaming expos all over the world ever since. There are many reasons why it has become such a hit, 20 years on from its ancestors. For one, we finally have the tech to pull virtual reality gaming off properly. Current generation  FPS titles like Halo 4 and Skyrim are easily ported to the Rift where the user can experience ultimate immersion in the gaming world. The design of the headset and it’s component parts (including the dual OLED screens) make the system easy to use and with needing little calibration to experience properly. All this lovely new tech is due to be released to consumers by mid 2015 at the latest, and could even be with us by the end of the year.

However, the Oculus Rift is not without its competition. Sony have waded into the fray with their ‘Morpheus’ project which features a similar headset design with full motion tracking and the massive financial backing from the gaming powerhouse that is Sony. Who knows, in the future we may see a VR war where both Oculus and Sony go head to head in the sales. Stranger things have happened.

As far as the money goes, Oculus VR don’t need to worry, for a couple of days ago, the news broke through Mark Zuckerberg  that social media juggernaut Facebook (not Microsoft, FACEBOOK) have acquired Oculus VR for a staggering $2 billion. TWO. BILLION. DOLLARS.

The reaction to this huge purchase has been mixed, across social media and gamers alike. Some big developers like Minecraft’s creator ‘Notch’ have left the project, so those of us who were looking forward to building crap in virtual reality will have to look elsewhere for a fix. Oh, and he won’t be the last to leave, either.

Many developers of casual games that have gone into the stratosphere of popularity (not to mention money-spinning) had their foundations in Facebook. All you need to look at is Farmville and the insanely addictive Candy Crack, sorry Crush, Saga to see that there of plenty of developers and publishers just waiting for this opportunity to enable not only gamers to indulge virtual reality, but also the everyday person.

Facebook itself could be an engaging experience through the Oculus Rift. You could weave your way through your friend’s photos and videos from the weekend in complete 3D and as long as the ads have their place that’s NOT in your face, then the experience of Facebook could change forever. The funding could also make their headsets more affordable and therefore, more commonplace in our homes; just as 3D televisions are today. With the financial backing of a social media giant and all the advantages that brings, as a gamer though…I’m worried.

What worries me is that the Rift is going to be too diluted with all the friend-stalking and movie watching that Oculus VR are going to lose touch with what gave it life on Kickstarter in the first place – us, the gamers. Yes, Facebook has its place but I want to see GAMES on the Rift. Not adverts. Not Farmville invites. GAMES.

Let us know what you think about the Facebook acquisition of Oculus VR. Are you worried? Excited? Tell us in the comments below.



About the Author

Nick Lynch

Part time gamer, photographer, drummer, tweeter and wannabe journalist. Full time Internet Hero. Follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/drumtasticnick