Facebook to acquire company behind Oculus Rift VR headset for $2 billion

Facebook has announced today that it will buy Oculus VR, the company behind the massively popular virtual reality gaming headset 'Oculus Rift', for about $2 billion in total - including $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook stock.

According to Facebook, the company hopes to expand the Oculus Rift's potential to "new verticals," including communications, media, entertainment and education, in addition to its current potential in the gaming market. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg expanded on their reasoning for the purchase, saying:

Mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow. Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate.

Oculus VR has already seen significant popularity amongst the gaming community with the release of its development kit, a head-mounted virtual reality display available for purchase by developers, beta testers and early adopters. The company has heard praise from many, and has previously received an investment of $75 million from venture capitalist Marc Andreessen as well as a Kickstarter campaign which raised close to $2.5 million in initial funding.

Facebook plans to hold a press conference on the purchase at 6:15 p.m. EST, with a live webcast viewable on their investor website. Additionally, viewers can listen in on the conference at (866) 751-3284.

Source: FacebookImage via Guardian LV

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Facebook want us sitting in our houses making digital friends in virtual reality... maybe even attending digital events together.

What a horrible parasitic future.

First thought: Oh FFS Facebook, keep your lecherous hands off!
Second though: £2b of extra funding for Oculus.... hmmm that could bode well.

Mixed emotions 101

Doesn't Facebook have anything better to do than buying random companies? Do they really just have that much extra money to throw around for no reason?

LightEco said,
Doesn't Facebook have anything better to do than buying random companies? Do they really just have that much extra money to throw around for no reason?
They are doing all of this with stock. That's the beauty of being publicly traded you have a commodity you can use instead of cash and you aren't limited to so few holders of stock as you are as a privately held company.

FloatingFatMan said,
It wasn't revolutionary in the 80's when the first VR headsets became available and it won't be revolutionary now, either.

In all fairness, most 3d "goodness" in the 80s was triangular and limited to like 2 colors at best.
With today's graphics it's getting quite hard to distinct reality from a game.

Have you smartasses even tried the Occulus Rift? Some really smart and infulencial people say this is the future. Show us your resumes and we'll decide if your opinion is worth anything

PmRd said,
Have you smartasses even tried the Occulus Rift? Some really smart and infulencial people say this is the future. Show us your resumes and we'll decide if your opinion is worth anything

The better the quality of the graphics, the more profound the VR sickness will be.

FloatingFatMan said,

The better the quality of the graphics, the more profound the VR sickness will be.

So you're telling us that you come from the future and tried the most advanced version of VR to say this bullcrap.

I've used VR tech of several generations starting from the 80's onwards, each more sophisticated than it's predecessor. Have you?

Do you even know what VR sickness -is-, because I don't think you do.

FloatingFatMan said,
I've used VR tech of several generations starting from the 80's onwards, each more sophisticated than it's predecessor. Have you?

Do you even know what VR sickness -is-, because I don't think you do.

I think I do. I'm a developer and I have the DK1. VR sickness happens for me when the head tracking is not perfect (while playing games that are not made for VR) or when the game takes control of your body during a cinematic. A game made for VR I feel fine wether it's the crappy graphics of Minecraft or the amazing realism of Unreal Engine 4

I guess this means we will get an option to "like" any kills we make when we play first person shooters while wearing the Occulus Rift.

Everyone assumes this will be the death of VR... maybe it will be good for it. Maybe they will now have even more money behind them.

VR is stillborn technology anyway. I've yet to see any of these companies explain how they've "solved" VR sickness.

It's another gimmick tech, like 3D movies & TV's. Once people start puking their guts up and falling over after 10 minutes play, they'll be wanting refunds PDQ.

RIP O-VR.

Looking forward to MS/Sony's now...and may be Valve's. Though the way valve screwed up with steam box/controller, I'm not holding any breath.

I am guessing Zukerburg thought it was really cool and great so he wanted to make sure it works out by giving them a ton of cash for everything they need.

PmRd said,

Unless you ordered the dev kit there is no pre-orders

Quite possible he's a developer who cancelled his pre-order of the second dev kit.

So everyone who doesn't like Facebook and cancelled their pre-orders because of this is being "whiny"? Notch was also being "whiny" I suppose when he terminated his relationship with Oculus despite donating $10,000 to their Kickstarter campaign? Why are you getting so upset over his cancellation I wonder?

Romero said,
So everyone who doesn't like Facebook and cancelled their pre-orders because of this is being "whiny"? Notch was also being "whiny" I suppose when he terminated his relationship with Oculus despite donating $10,000 to their Kickstarter campaign? Why are you getting so upset over his cancellation I wonder?

Yeah it's overeacting. It's not like Hitler bought Occulus. John Carmack said it was a good thing for the company and now a former Valve employee is joining the team. Anyone getting worked up about this and cancelling their orders or projects are missing a really big boat.

PmRd said,
Anyone getting worked up about this and cancelling their orders or projects are missing a really big boat.
That may be so, but it's their decision and I don't see how it's being "whiny". Many people don't like FB one bit (something some people might find hard to fathom), and don't want to touch anything tainted by it either. I know lots of people who moved on from WhatsApp to Telegram and other services post-acquisition. Just how it is. It's a logo on the device today, who knows where it'll end up tomorrow. Some devs just may not want to get trapped in their ecosystem and since Oculus has already pushed so many others to invest in VR it's not as if there aren't any alternatives. Speaking of which, Valve's VR tech is reportedly much better than Oculus', so might be a good decision after all to switch to a better boat.

aviator189 said,
not sure how to feel...
was never really into VR so whatever.
I'm kinda like you. However, I remember as a kid (I'm in my mid 30's) maybe say 13-15. I was with my family in a mall somewhere. Some booth had been setup where you could put on a helmet, stand on a platform and you had a gun in one hand and a trigger device in the other (to make you go forward). My brothers and I did a few rounds (you could pair up to fight whatever it was). It's been all these years, and all the things I've done. I still remember that being one of the coolest things I've ever done.

So, I think if the rift could do it right, it could be super cool. I'll buy one if they nail down the UX from that one experience over a decade ago.

I guess they are worse than google. not only are they wiping the floor with google in social, they are basically eating up the only chance google glass had to not be a total flop.

Oculus need to create new version which is much better:
1. Wireless.
2. Better display so more comfortable for the eyes.
3. Release better sdm. Including the support for Kinect sensor. So it will become much realistic.
And others

xankazo said,
Sh*t's getting scary around Facebook! Totally creepy!

Maybe Facebook seeing the social media future not so good, so they try to find new money?

My immediate reaction is disgust.. but it's possible for the medium term Facebook will just further bankroll their efforts and leave them largely uninterrupted. If they use the Rift for Facebook purposes it will be a lot further down the line and they will have a different DEV team working on that.

wow way to kill a company; i was really excited to a see a proper VR solution because in the past 20 years many promised but never delivered; now Facebook does this? First Whatsapp now Oculus..

who's next?

It's weird that Microsoft always happens to be on the wrong side of technological evolution the moment it is happening. PS4 has this, soon Facebook, and Xbox Done....nothing.

VictorWho said,
It's weird that Microsoft always happens to be on the wrong side of technological evolution the moment it is happening. PS4 has this, soon Facebook, and Xbox Done....nothing.

Unless one of these companies is offering up a 'Star Trek' style Holodeck, VR will remain a niche at best. Microsoft isn't missing anything.

VictorWho said,
It's weird that Microsoft always happens to be on the wrong side of technological evolution the moment it is happening. PS4 has this, soon Facebook, and Xbox Done....nothing.

I'm sure VR has been in microsoft labs for some time now and I doubt VT is going to get that big.
The large, large majority of people simply do not want to wear a huge thing over their heads when they're trying to chill and play a few games.

VictorWho said,
It's weird that Microsoft always happens to be on the wrong side of technological evolution the moment it is happening. PS4 has this, soon Facebook, and Xbox Done....nothing.
MS has had VR for a long time. I think the Rift is amazing. But even with all the hype and the time they've had the gameplay is wacky and they are having huge problems with tracking etc. in such a compact device.

It's going to be super expensive for a while. It's going to be niche for a while. I don't see that changing. I think, like the Leap Motion gadget, it's much easier to get people will be excited and hyped about a product than it is to get them to write a sizable check to put it in their hands. I'll buy one of these if they ever get one working *well.* I don't expect to do that for years... but I'm a high end gamer who would do that, not the farmville type.

aviator189 said,

I'm sure VR has been in microsoft labs for some time now and I doubt VT is going to get that big.
The large, large majority of people simply do not want to wear a huge thing over their heads when they're trying to chill and play a few games.

Same reason 3D TV failed.

Few Billion for this company, few Billion for that company.......................Logic? We wait and see.

I am starting to think these buyout prices are coming out of the phonebook.

So, Carmack left id to join Oculus in order to focus on improving the technology and get away from non-technological things that were present at id <-> Zenimax... only to fall in the hands of Facebook. I am not sure how to take this, to laugh or to cry.

elenarie said,
So, Carmack left id to join Oculus in order to focus on improving the technology and get away from non-technological things that were present at id <-> Zenimax... only to fall in the hands of Facebook. I am not sure how to take this, to laugh or to cry.

Facebook has officially trolled the gaming industry

Aergan said,

Facebook has officially trolled the gaming industry


How so? By buying a company that has yet to launch a consumer product?

Jarrichvdv said,

How so? By buying a company that has yet to launch a consumer product?

By the creator of Doom now being a Facebook employee.

f0rk_b0mb said,
Well I guess I won't be buying one.

I know right...I'm tired of Facebook getting involved with everything. I'm going to either jailbreak my phone to remove the damn app I don't use or demand Verizon remove it at the store or I switch services. I shouldn't be forced in keeping apps on a damn phone when I don't use them and need the space.

If you had told me 1 year ago that John Carmack would be working for Facebook in 2014, I'd had laughed my face off. Literallly, my face would've peeled off.

What a bizarre story.. Another great company gobbled up by Facebook. Let's hear if Facebook lets them run autonomously.

Yeah, that was the biggest WTF moment for me too. JC working for Facebook? :o

What next? A WhatsApp VR app with FB ads? What's this world coming to?

Not really sure what to make of this. On the face of it, it's a good deal to give Occulus some money to push forward and keep up with the competition with much deeper pockets, but the idea of Facebook owning the company doesn't sit right with me.

Majesticmerc said,
Not really sure what to make of this. On the face of it, it's a good deal to give Occulus some money to push forward and keep up with the competition with much deeper pockets, but the idea of Facebook owning the company doesn't sit right with me.

As it shouldn't LOL

Facebook has rightfully become the company to hate and distrust...

M_Lyons10 said,

As it shouldn't LOL

Facebook has rightfully become the company to hate and distrust...

Can you remind me why? I honestly can't remember

This was a surprising announcement, I thought I read it wrong. It needs time to sink in but right now it looks like a big mistake. Facebook needs focus, Oculus seems way out there for Facebook and in now way a fit for anything they are currently doing.

Most nonsensical acquisition in a good few decades, really don't see the connection between the two markets or the viability of transplanting VR onto the average Facebook user.

Oh well, Oculus aren't the only company doing work on VR. Maybe with a bit of luck John Carmack and the other talented engineers will join up with Mike Abrash over at Valve.

Abrash and Carmack together again under the same studio would be some serious clout.

[quote=Athernar said,]Most nonsensical acquisition in a good few decades, really don't see the connection between the two markets or the viability of transplanting VR onto the average Facebook user./quote]

There is none.

How much do you want to bet that any product to be released for the Oculus Rift will now require you to log into your Facebook profile--whatever the purpose may be. Remember that some web sites now require it. They don't get my business.

The real problem in this case is that I don't have a Facebook account (like many others), and will NOT create one, no matter how enticing the Oculus Rift may be. If THAT becomes a requirement, then it might as well no longer exist for me.

Caleo said,
Well that escalated quickly.

My first thoughts as well, followed by, "What company can I start and market it to Facebook for even 200 million dollars...?"

excalpius said,

Yeah, we'll see how long that lasts when Facebook makes him an offer he can't refuse as part of the Minecraft Movie PR synergy and vertical integration marketing push...

An offer he can't refuse? Heh, the man is already rich and is incredibly petty towards corporations. He'd just cancel the movie and put up a blog post telling the Minecraft userbase the evils of Facebook.

Athernar said,

An offer he can't refuse? Heh, the man is already rich .

There is rich and then there is RICH. The Oculus guys were just made RICH. :p