Facebook is to acquire Oculus VR, a specialist in immersive virtual reality technology, for a total of about $2 billion. This includes $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock. The agreement also provides for an additional $300 million earn-out in cash and stock based on the achievement of certain milestones.
Oculus specialises 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. Given these broad potential applications, virtual reality technology is a strong candidate to emerge as the next social and communications platform.
“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.”