Posted Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 03:11 PM PDT by Brian Hoss
Incoming webcast from Facbook and Oculus.
Facebook has just announced its $2 billion acquisition of Oculus and its Oculus Rift Virtual Reality technology. The buyout includes $400 million in cash and $1.6 billion in Facebook stock. There is also an additional $300 million available for performance incentives.
Facebook issue the following announcement ahead of a 3:15 PDT webcast.
"Oculus is the leader 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."
"We are excited to work with Mark and the Facebook team to deliver the very best virtual reality platform in the world," said Brendan Iribe, co-founder and CEO of Oculus VR. "We believe virtual reality will be heavily defined by social experiences that connect people in magical, new ways. It is a transformative and disruptive technology, that enables the world to experience the impossible, and it’s only just the beginning."
Meanwhile, on the Oculus side of the equation, the former company had this to say:
"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."
"Over the next 10 years, virtual reality will become ubiquitous, affordable, and transformative, and it begins with a truly next-generation gaming experience. This partnership ensures that the Oculus platform is coming, and that it’s going to change gaming forever."
Select excerpts from the webcast:
Note: These quotes are paraphrased.
Oculus is the next big computing platform.
It started with gaming, but the social aspects were unforeseen but now take center stage. When you see someone in the VR space, it's just amazing. It's social.
Sony has an early prototype. Microsoft not even. We feel good about where Oculus is at. On mobile, people spend 40% of their time gaming and 40% in social (half of which is Facebook). Oculus isn't a console, it transcends the traditional consoles and is set to be an ubiquitous platform that can do both (social and gaming) while Sony and Microsoft are just pure console.
No launch date. Buy a dev kit.
We looked at building something from scratch, but Oculus already has the best people. We have a strong position on mobile. We think vision will be the next platform in five years. We decided to just go with Oculus. We decided on Oculus, but had to wait on them as they had many choices (suitors)
While we think Oculus is the next big platform, we did the financial analysis based on the game side alone, just because that side is so far along and can justify the purchase on its own. Beyond gaming is the upside.
The big change in VR now, where it hasn't been adopted before, is the availability of mass-produced tech, such as phone components like displays, that can be used to overcome the latency, expense, etc.
This is a five year thing, but we won't be trying to make money off the hardware; we aren't a hardware company. Near term priority is investing the platform.
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