Facebook announced today their plans to purchase virtual reality headset developers Oculus VR for approximately $2 billion. The deal will be broken up into $400 million cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock (a rough valuation of $1.6 million).
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg issued a statement today saying:
“Our mission is to make the world more open and connected. For the past few years, this has mostly meant building mobile apps that help you share with the people you care about. We have a lot more to do on mobile, but at this point we feel we’re in a position where we can start focusing on what platforms will come next to enable even more useful, entertaining and personal experiences.
This is where Oculus comes in. They build virtual reality technology, like the Oculus Rift headset. When you put it on, you enter a completely immersive computer-generated environment, like a game or a movie scene or a place far away. The incredible thing about the technology is that you feel like you’re actually present in another place with other people. People who try it say it’s different from anything they’ve ever experienced in their lives.”
This Facebook acquisition could take one of two routes for Oculus.
1.) The complete overload
The first option would be for Facebook to overload the Oculus VR team by trying to spread the company into too many different mediums. Zuckerburg said, “After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home.”
While these are exciting options, Oculus will need to hone its technology with gaming first before jumping into multimedia platforms. That being said, the dev kits that Oculus has been selling for the better part of its existence, offers the freedom for individuals to expand the limits of what Oculus can achieve.
2.) The Instagram route
When acquiring Instagram, Facebook took a hands off approach. For Oculus, this gives them the opportunity to focus solely on producing a consumer ready gaming headset, then moving on to further innovation from there.
It’s unlikely that Oculus will be taking this route after releasing a statement of their own saying, “we’re culturally aligned with a focus on innovating and hiring the best and brightest; we believe communication drives new platforms; we want to contribute to a more open, connected world.”
Regardless of the outcome, this acquisition will result in a game changing merger for the world of gaming, virtual reality, and social connection.