Facebook has is buying Oculus VR, a startup that makes virtual reality headsets, in a cheap (!) $2 billion deal, remember that FB acquired the popular WhatsApp service a few weeks ago for a much more pricey $19 billion.
This puts the Oculus Rift virtual reality platform in the hands of one of the biggest corporations on the planet.
Console gaming companies have sensed the threat of Oculus, which is why Sony announced a similar headset for its new PlayStation 4 gaming console.
Mark Zuckerberg says “Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate”
Minecraft creator Markus Persson says he was in talks about bringing a version of the popular world-building game to Oculus. Not anymore though, tweeting that “I just cancelled that deal. Facebook creeps me out.” Persson says he remains keen to work with virtual reality platforms.
Many other game developers have also expressed concern and disappointment over the news, discussing the impact of Facebook’s closed ecosystem on game developers, the impact on the audience, and issues with privacy and advertising.
Zuckerberg’s ambitions for the tech though goes far beyond gaming, seeing the technology as the next big platform for all kinds of industries including communications, media, entertainment and education.
“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.”
Oculus will remain headquartered in Irvine and continue to develop the Oculus Rift ahead of a consumer version of the device hitting the market which is expected in late 2014 or early 2015.