Facebook has been on a buying spree since it acquired Instagram. It also bought the popular internet messaging service, WhatsApp in 2014 and now it is the turn of Kickstarter funded upcoming virtual reality headset company, Oculus Rift, which was acquired for $2 billion.
The $2 billion deal will include $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of stocks which are valued at $1.6 billion, announced Facebook.
Oculus was founded by Palmer Luckeyin July 2012, and later they launched a Kickstarter campaign that raised $2.4 million
Reactions from VR Game Developers:
- "We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus, I just cancelled that deal. Facebook creeps me out," said Marcus Persson of Mojang in a tweet.
- "I guess it makes me kind of curious. It's not two things that you imagine putting in the same potSomeone thinks these two things belong in the same pot and thinks strongly enough to spend $2 billion on it. I think this means that there's going to be some very interesting uses of VR in the very near future. It's very surprising, but I'm only excited about what that could be. I'm pretty it's not going to mean stupid free-to-play Facebook games on VR. That doesn't seem real to me," said Robin Arnott, the creator of Soundself to Polygon.
- "The fact that Sony and Valve are interested in it means that someone up high thinks there's some excellent gaming potential. The fact that Facebook is interested in it means that Zuckerberg thinks it's for everyone. That is phenomenally exciting. What's my place in all of it? I'm not sure, anymore - all these companies are doing big, tangible things, and it probably means that we'll benefit from thinking about huge, non-traditional things", said Ichiro Lambe of Dejobaan.
- "Oculus being bought by Facebook offers the platform a number of unique opportunities, which are potentially a snug fit with the key things that we as a studio think are offered by VR, and where we put a lot of focus for our own VR game World of Diving: its multiplayer and social elements," said Richard Stitselaar, Creative Director on the World of Diving.
Reactions from Oculus Rift Developers:
- "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," said Brendan Iribe, co-founder and CEO of Oculus.
- "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," said Oculus in a blog post.
Reactions from Facebook:
- "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," said Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook in a statement on Facebook page.
- Zuckerberg also said that he will not be changing any gaming plans in Oculus and added, "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. One day, we believe this kind of immersive, augmented reality will become a part of daily life for billions of people."
Facebook issues clarification:
Facebook has issued clarification with regards to the New York Times report that quoted an anonymous source from Facebook revealing that Facebook will be redesigning the hardware, rebranding it with Facebook logo and the set will get 'Facebook Interface.' Facebook has said that these claims were not true and "not in the spirit of our relationship," Tech Crunch reported.
Oculus VR Backers Upset:
Oculus Rift was backed by various people who funded the development of the hardware and the Facebook acquisition has not gone down well with them.
"And I did not chip in ten grand to seed a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition," said Markus Persson, who was also a backer of the project., reported Attack of the Fanboy.
Another backer said, "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," said Palmer Lucky on the Oculus VR Blog.