Facebook buys Oculus to power virtual reality push


Facebook has acquired Oculus, a virtual reality specialist, for $2bn (1.2bn) to help create more engaging games on the social network.

In a blog post, Oculus said the two companies have a "deeper vision of creating a new platform for interaction that allows billions of people to connect in a way never before possible."

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said the company hopes to use the Oculus technology to create virtual reality games, with the help of developers.

Zuckerberg explained: "After games, we're going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. 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."

He continued: "Mobile is the platform of today, and now we're also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow. Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate."

Oculus used crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to finance the Oculus Rift VR headset back in 2012. The company caught the attention of Doom co-creator John Carmack who helped promote the headset and, as a result, the company sold 60,000 units to game developers who are now producing titles using the technology.

The company added: "We've defined what consumer virtual reality needs to be and what it's going to require to deliver it. [Facebook is] culturally aligned with a focus on innovating and hiring the best and brightest; we believe communication drives new platforms; we want to contribute to a more open, connected world; and we both see virtual reality as the next step."

Following the acquisition announcement, many developers took to Twitter to voice their concerns about Oculus being bought by a huge corporation like Facebook.

Minecraft creator Markus Persson has decided to cancel his agreement with Oculus because he believes social networking is not the future of gaming.

He wrote in a lengthy blog post: "I definitely want to be a part of VR, but I will not work with Facebook. Their motives are too unclear and shifting, and they haven't historically been a stable platform. There's nothing about their history that makes me trust them, and that makes them seem creepy to me."

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.