Close on the heels of a $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp, Facebook Inc., has said that it will now acquire Oculus VR, a maker of virtual-reality glasses for gaming.
The cost of acquisition of the company will be $2 billion and would pave the way for Facebook to make an entry into the fast growing wearable devices arena.
The acquisition is seen as strategic for Facebook as the company plans to focus on mobile and other devices as individuals are quickly making a shift to mobile devices.
“Mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow,” said Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. “Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate.”
“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.”
Oculus will maintain its headquarters in Irvine, CA, and will continue development of the Oculus Rift, its ground-breaking virtual reality platform.
The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014.
“Oculus is the leader in immersive virtual reality technology and has already built strong interest among developers, having received more than 75,000 orders for development kits for the company’s virtual reality headset, the Oculus Rift. While the applications for virtual reality technology beyond gaming are in their nascent stages, several industries are already experimenting with the technology, and Facebook plans to extend Oculus’ existing advantage in gaming to new verticals, including communications, media and entertainment, education and other areas,” Facebook said in a release.
Given these broad potential applications, virtual reality technology is a strong candidate to emerge as the next social and communications platform.