Leading the way in VR technology as it stands to date, Oculus Rift was originally funding on Kickstarter by those who would be the first to get and try out the immersive gaming system. They raised almost $2.5 million, well beyond the initial $250,000 goal.
That extra cash paid off, and they just released the final developer’s pack for the Rift last week. Right on the heels came the announcement that Sony was trying their hand at the same tech with Project Morpheus.
Given that fact, and that they have managed to release their second major update, a sale wasn’t that shocking. Having the backing of a large corporation would be a good move for the technology to grow, while giving the developers a hefty sum in the process.
Facebook was the last company you would expect to acquire Oculus, but according to an announcement on their website, the social network has done so. They will be buying the rights to the company and name for around $2 billion, most of it in stock, and $400 million in cash.
Immersive gaming will be the first, and Oculus already has big plans here that won’t be changing and we hope to accelerate, Zuckerberg said in a statement. The Rift is highly anticipated by the gaming community, and there’s a lot of interest from developers in building for this platform. We’re going to focus on helping Oculus build out their product and develop partnerships to support more games. Oculus will continue operating independently within Facebook to achieve this.
Highly anticipated is right. Every gamer with even a passing interest in immersive gameplay (i.e. all of us) are panting and drooling at the chance to get our hands on one of these in its later incarnations. Just imagine where the Oculus could be in five years? In ten? Where the state of VR in general could be thanks to this step and the almost unlimited cash FB can throw behind its development?
Oculus also talked about this deal on their blog:
Facebook understands the potential for VR. Mark and his team share our vision for virtual reality’s potential to transform the way we learn, share, play, and communicate. Facebook is a company that believes that anything is possible with the right group of people, and we couldn’t agree more.
This partnership is one of the most important moments for virtual reality: it gives us the best shot at truly changing the world. It opens doors to new opportunities and partnerships, reduces risk on the manufacturing and work capital side, allows us to publish more made-for-VR content, and lets us focus on what we do best: solving hard engineering challenges and delivering the future of VR.
With Sony now racing to be the first to provide the next VR innovation, you can bet some exciting things will be coming from this competition. And don’t give me the, “There have been VR and 3-D device gaming platforms before, and they sucked!” Because we didn’t have anywhere near the capabilities that we had back then, whether with graphics or gameplay, and you know it.