Social media giant invests $2 billion in Oculus Rift.
Facebook has taken a major gamble this past week, investing $2 billion in Oculus Rift, a company that designs virtual reality headsets. During the Consumer Electronic Show in January, the company showcased a headset that features an all-encompassing virtual reality, which makes the user feel as though they are in a virtual world. With a head-tracking system, the gear is capable of letting you lean over ledges and peer around corners without causing motion sickness.
Oculus has been able to bring together a virtual reality world of a fast-paced space-fighting game, which felt extremely legitimate and could lead into how video gaming might be in the future. This excited Facebook executives, who jumped on the idea right away.
“This is just the start. After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences,” wrote Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, as he announced the deal. “Imagine enjoying a courtside seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting a doctor face-to-face—just by putting on goggles in your home.”
Palmer Luckey, Oculus virtual reality’s creative, also sees a wider future for the headset since gaining the deal with Facebook.
“Right now, you have very abstract social networks. So it will be really interesting to see what happens if virtual reality ever progresses to the point where you can have a very realistic way of interacting.”
Many people already spend hours on Facebook every day. It will be interesting to see if they can incorporate the headset to an already engaging social media service.
Not everyone is happy with Facebook acquiring Oculus, and many companies feel as though Facebook does not care enough about the gaming potential of the virtual reality. The founder of popular game Minecraft Markus Persson was also in discussions with Oculus about making a version of the popular game for the headset. However, once Facebook announced the deal with Oculus, Persson decided to cancel those talks for the future of Minecraft.
“Facebook is not a company of grassroots tech enthusiasts. Facebook is not a game tech company. Facebook has a history of caring about building user numbers and nothing but building user numbers,” Persson wrote in a blog post.
Oculus is not the only virtual reality headset on the market. As of last week, Sony unveiled is own headset for the PlayStation 4 (PS4), Project Morpheus. It is currently a prototype, working with the PS4’s Move motion controller. It will be interesting to see which headset will make it to market first, and which one will be more successful, as there are a lot of challenges associated with building a virtual reality headset. If it works, users will finally be able to experience a world where they have entered a simulated 3D world, bringing many dreams to a reality.