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Hot on the heels of the big VR news from GDC, a major development hit the virtual reality scene on Tuesday, March 25. Social networking giant Facebook bought Oculus VR for $2 billion.
Oculus VR, Inc. was founded in July 2012. Their initial success came from a Kickstarter campaign in August 2012 for the Oculus Rift, a product dubbed “the first truly immersive virtual reality headset for video games.” They initially asked for $250,000 to help in the production of Oculus Rift development kits and ended up raising $2,437,429. Since then, they’ve received more than 75,000 dev kit orders, and Oculus has been at the forefront of the virtual reality video game scene. In June 2013, they were able to raise $17 million in venture capital funding and an additional $75 million in December 2013.
Now Facebook has acquired Oculus VR for approximately $2 billion: $400 million in cash and $1.6 billion in Facebook stock options.
According to their press release, Facebook wants to extend Oculus’s technology from video games to communications, education and other areas. In a personal Facebook post, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg hinted at what might be in store for the future of Facebook in relation to this acquisition. “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 maintains that Facebook’s acquisition will not interfere with their focus on video games. Oculus headquarters will remain in Irvine, CA, and they will continue development of the Oculus Rift.
“We are excited to work with Mark and the Facebook team to deliver the very best virtual reality platform in the world,” said Brendan Iribe, co-founder and CEO of Oculus VR. “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.”
By Alfredo Dizon, eParisExtra