Facebook has just announced that it’s buying Oculus Rift for $2 billion, no you are not reading some clever political satire here, the Zuckerberg behemoth has struck again!
Initial thoughts of a nightmarish future that feature the worlds population plugged into games like Farmville and Candy Crush Saga as targeted adverts are sent directly to your brain in rapid succession spring to mind but Facebook isn’t that creepy is it? I cannot help but feel a little suspicious of their motives, when they say that they want to promote a device for social purposes, anyone who has ever seen a photo of it Oculus Rift in action can see that you cannot get much more anti social than strapping a computer to your face.
The full statement from Mark Zuckerberg states the following.
“I’m excited to announce that we’ve agreed to acquire Oculus VR, the leader in virtual reality technology.
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.
Oculus’s mission is to enable you to experience the impossible. Their technology opens up the possibility of completely new kinds of experiences.
Immersive gaming will be the first, and Oculus already has big plans here that won’t be changing and we hope to accelerate. 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.
But this is just the start. 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.
This is really a new communication platform. By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.
These are just some of the potential uses. By working with developers and partners across the industry, together we can build many more. One day, we believe this kind of immersive, augmented reality will become a part of daily life for billions of people.
Virtual reality was once the dream of science fiction. But the internet was also once a dream, and so were computers and smartphones. The future is coming and we have a chance to build it together. I can’t wait to start working with the whole team at Oculus to bring this future to the world, and to unlock new worlds for all of us.”
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Meanwhile an obviously delighted Oculus try to play it cool by saying:
“We are excited to work with Mark and the Facebook team to deliver the very best virtual reality platform in the world,” Brendan Iribe, co-founder and CEO of Oculus VR says in a PR release. “We believe virtual reality will be heavily defined by social experiences that connect people in magical, new ways. It is a transformative and disruptive technology, that enables the world to experience the impossible, and it’s only just the beginning.”
I am convinced that John Carmack was then seen running down the street punching the air like he has just been invited to the prom by the hottest girl in some 80’s movie.
To the great unwashed and keyboard warriors online, Carmack will now be labelled a sellout, but I seriously doubt most of these people would turn down 50,000 never mind 2 billion dollars, but I guess with great power comes great responsibility.
However as a gaming purist who feels that Facebook games and their business models represent everything that is wrong with the games industry, I must confess to being a little crushed by this announcement and suspect the hardcore gaming community will also react angrily to this latest news.
What are your thoughts on this latest brave and bold move by Facebook?