The latest acquisition by Facebook of virtual reality company Oculus VR, was approved by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today. The Menlo Park, Ca. company announced last month that they offered to buy Oculus VR, makers of the Oculus Rift headset, for $400 million in cash and 23.1 Facebook shares. According to CNET on April 23, 2014, that will amount to a value of $1.6 billion.
At this point the Rift is only available for pre-order as a developer’s toolkit for $350. Investors are hopeful that Facebook will see it through to completion. A shipping product that leverages social media excellence and the original plan to support next generation games could shake things up. Facebook used its purchase of Instagram as an example of what is possible.
Oculus VR is known for its Rift immersive Virtual Reality (VR) headset. 25,000 of which have been sold to developers so far. The origin of the Rift was actually through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. It was able to successfully raise $2,437,429 in funding this way and get a ton of media coverage along the way.
This Facebook acquisition puts the company at the forefront of consumer VR technology, if they can get the Rift past the developer stage. CEO Mark Zuckerberg made it clear that the hardware will not be rebranded and their plans are on course. According to Computers and Video Games on April 23, 2014, Oculus will keep its headquarters in Irvine, Ca.
VR pioneer, Jaron Lanier, has expressed his concerns about the product in the hands of its new owners. Even if the happen sell hundreds of thousands of units; it may now be enough to justify this purchase to Facebook’s shareholders. If the demo videos are any indication, this may be the next big thing in social media.
What do you think about the Facebook acquisition story? Please drop in your comments below.