Facebook Acquires Oculus VR for $2 Billion

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Facebook announced Tuesday that it acquired Oculus VR, the company behind the Oculus Rift gaming headset in a cash and stock deal valued at $2 billion.

The terms of the deal include $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock.

The Oculus Rift project gained prominence on Kickstarter, raising over $2 million in the summer of 2012. The company went on to raise more than $91 million in venture funding in 2013. With this exit, the Oculus Rift is easily the most successful Kickstarter project of all time.

“Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement.

Although the Oculus team was never committed to bringing a consumer version of its VR headset to the market, more than 75,000 developers had already ordered developer kits for the technology — and the early prototypes we’ve seen look amazing.

Facebook says that Oculus will remain headquartered in Irvine and will continue developing the Oculus Rift platform.

This is Facebook’s second major acquisition in less than two months. Last month, Facebook acquired WhatsApp for a staggering $16 billion.

On an investor conference Tuesday evening, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussed why he was so interested in the Oculus team and the Oculus Rift.

For Zuckerberg, it’s all about the future. If mobile is the current computing platform, vision and virtual reality could be platforms of the future. Zuckerberg described buying Oculus as “a longterm bet on the future of computing.”

This is a sentiment echoed by Chris Dixon, an investor at Andresseen Horowitz, the company that led Oculus VR’s $75 million Series B funding round. On his blog, Dixon described his research into virtual reality and Oculus as a company. He writes, “the more we learned, the more we became convinced that virtual reality would become central to the next great wave of computing.”

The idea that Oculus represents the future of computing isn’t relegated to just investors. Shane Hudson, a London-based web developer, says he thinks that Oculus has the ability to offer up a ” fully immersed experience.” Hudson thinks that experience could extend from tasks such as “playing a game, watching a film, reading a book or even chatting your friends ‘face-to-face’ despite being on the other side of the world.”

Hudson works with data visualizations and he sees the Oculus Rift as giving an entire new way of working with that kind of data. “It’s a very interesting technology that could go in any number of directions, much as the web did,” Hudson says.

That’s what Zuckerberg thinks too. He sees Oculus’s current focus around games and entertainment as just the beginning.

“Oculus has the potential to be the most social platform ever,” he said. “Imagine not just sharing moments with your friends online but entire experiences.”

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