Facebook has taken an unexpected step into the realm of virtual reality and has acquired Oculus VR, Inc, makers of the Oculus Rift VR headset, for $2 billion. The sale will include $400M in cash, $1.6 billion in Facebook stock, and an additional $300M for incentives.
"Immersive gaming will be the first, and Oculus already has big plans here that won't be changing and we hope to accelerate," said Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in an announcement post. "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."
Facebook will seek to use Oculus' technology into new realms of communications, media and entertainment, education, and other areas, in addition to gaming.
"After games, we're going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences," Zuckerberg added. "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."
"We are excited to work with Mark and the Facebook team to deliver the very best virtual reality platform in the world," said Oculus VR co-founder and CEO Brendan Iribe. "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."
Oculus Rift has been in the works for several years, with Oculus releasing the latest devkit prototype last week. The company had recently announced that it was running short on components for the devkits.
The deal is expected to close in Q2 2014, with Oculus maintaining its offices in Irvine, CA.