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Facebook buys Virtual Reality company: whole world looks bemused.

2 minute read

Facebook/Oculus Rift/RedSharkFacebook + Oculus Rift

What's behind the Facebook takeover of the plucky Kickstarter-funded Oculus Rift? Why would Facebook want to own a Virtual Reality company?

The internet is buzzing with speculation about why Facebook just bought Oculus Rift.

We've been following the fortunes of the VR company for some time at RedShark and we think this is may be a significant move in the long term - much more than Facebook trying to build shareholder value by merely diversifying.

What Oculus says

`The comments of the founder are interesting if you read them closely:

 "We started Oculus with a vision of delivering incredible, affordable, and ubiquitous consumer virtual reality to the world. We’ve come a long way in the last 18 months: from foam core prototypes built in a garage to an incredible community of active and talented developers with more than 75,000 development kits ordered. In the process, we’ve defined what consumer virtual reality needs to be and what it’s going to require to deliver it.

A few months ago, Mark, Chris, and Cory from the Facebook team came down to visit our office, see the latest demos, and discuss how we could work together to bring our vision to millions of people. As we talked more, we discovered the two teams shared an even deeper vision of creating a new platform for interaction that allows billions of people to connect in a way never before possible.

Today, we’re pleased to announce that we’ve joined forces with Facebook to create the best virtual reality platform in the world.

At first glance, it might not seem obvious why Oculus is partnering with Facebook, a company focused on connecting people, investing in internet access for the world and pushing an open computing platform. But when you consider it more carefully, we’re 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.

Most important, Facebook understands the potential for VR. Mark and his team share our vision for virtual reality’s potential to transform the way we learn, share, play, and communicate. Facebook is a company that believes that anything is possible with the right group of people, and we couldn’t agree more.

This partnership is one of the most important moments for virtual reality: it gives us the best shot at truly changing the world. It opens doors to new opportunities and partnerships, reduces risk on the manufacturing and work capital side, allows us to publish more made-for-VR content, and lets us focus on what we do best: solving hard engineering challenges and delivering the future of VR."

I think the meaning is all in the sentence

 "As we talked more, we discovered the two teams shared an even deeper vision of creating a new platform for interaction that allows billions of people to connect in a way never before possible."

 Several clues

There are several clue in there for you to make of what you will, but Facebook clearly has at least a wispy vision here, if not a cast-in-stone plan.

There's definitely a role for Virtual Reality in our entertainment, leisure, social and business lives, and maybe the connection with a social networks will be the catylist for something big to happen. Meanwhile, we think that VR is a very important direction for video to take, and it goes very much deeper than that, as you'll see when we look at this in depth in another article, hopefully by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, an alternative view from one industry insider we spoke to today, who asked to remain anonymous. He said: "Maybe they bought it simply because Zukerberg liked it!".


Tags: VR & AR