Why Facebook's $2 billion purchase of Oculus VR is a good thing

Zuckerberg, you done done it again. News broke today that Facebook has just acquired Oculus VR, the tech company behind the ever-advancing Oculus Rift headset. The knee-jerk reaction you're probably experiencing right now is bewilderment at Facebook's $2 billion investment into such a gaming-oriented product. Turns out, Facebook plans on expanding it past its original purpose. But don't worry: as of this moment, Oculus Rift will be made for gamers first and classrooms second.

"Mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow," said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. "Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate."

In plain English, VR may be the next step in how we interface with one another (which, depending on how you look at it, could be a welcome advancement past staring at our smartphones 24/7). Facebook being a company driven by virtual-but-still-social interactions, it makes sense that it'd double-down on the current frontrunner in virtual reality.

None can deny the usages for VR beyond fully immersive gaming. Zuckerberg cites the possibility of "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." When you think about the long-term potential for VR and the Rift, should it take off, cool video games seem like a baby step towards an adulthood in a virtually interconnected world.

And if Facebook is to become a cornerstone of wearable computer like Google Glass (which, let's face it, is inevitable), Oculus Rift could be the perfect test chamber for what those applications might look like. When GamesRadar's Hollander Cooper chatted with Oculus VR CEO Palmer Luckey at PAX Prime 2013, Luckey mentioned that many companies were using the Rift as a proving ground for technology that might still be decades away.

But don't think that everything that appealed to gamers about the Oculus Rift (things like John Carmack's involvement, EVE Valkyrie and support in a multitude of PC games) will be falling by the wayside in favor of a three-dimensional Facebook news feed. Making a statement via his status update (the pomp!), Zuckerberg said that "[Oculus Rift] opens up the possibility of completely new kinds of experiences. Immersive gaming will be the first, and Oculus already has big plans here that won't be changing and we hope to accelerate."

I like where your head's at, Zuckerberg--you've clearly got your priorities in order.

Just about everyone wins in this situation. If you're a consumer hoping to get your own Rift sooner rather than later, this is good news--the mega-billions in Facebook's pocket ensure that the advancements towards widespread distribution should come much quicker. If you're a developer making games with Rift in mind, you're happy--now you'll get your creation in front of even more consumers.

"The Rift is highly anticipated by the gaming community, and there's a lot of interest from developers in building for this platform," said Zuckerberg. "We're going to focus on helping Oculus build out their product and develop partnerships to support more games. Oculus will continue operating independently within Facebook to achieve this." That means that, despite any fears that Facebook might somehow run this project into the ground, it sounds like Facebook will be pretty hands-off on anything besides funding. Zuckerberg knows that these guys need their space if they're going to create the best high-tech headset possible.

So there's really nothing to fear here. I'm not saying that a VR-enabled version of Candy Crush Saga won't pop up somewhere down the line. But you, the gamer, won't be taking a backseat to rich teenagers in private schools or doctors in training--from what Zuckerberg's saying, it looks like gaming will be the proving grounds of what Oculus VR is capable of. And hey, billions of dollars being injected into an exciting new platform is rarely, if ever, a bad thing.


  • TehWise - March 27, 2014 11:51 a.m.

    Believing what FB said Believing coporate talk
  • mothbanquet - March 27, 2014 9:54 a.m.

    I find it curious that just before clicking the link for this article I spied a big fat 'sponsored' ad for FB on GR's home page. Ahem...
  • Feral_Argus_X - March 27, 2014 4:47 a.m.

    Does anyone remember when Facebook was worthwhile? I was graduating high school just when it first came out and was actually a good way to keep in touch with friends at other schools. If I remember correctly, you needed to be a student to even use it. Ads weren't as rampant, and it was really about staying connected with people you couldn't see. When the restrictions were dropped and everyone joined, the product changed. More ads and junk. More invasions of privacy and loss of "personal" information. Now we have 65% ads, 25% boring news feed crap from people who need to adjust their sharing settings (but can't figure out the horrendous user interface and menus), 5% miscellaneous garbage, and 5% of stuff I actually care about. It's too much to try and cut out that small slice of unspoiled pie. I miss the old Facebook. ... And now I sound like a cranky old man remembering the good old days, and I'm not even 30 yet. Thanks Zucky.
  • Sinosaur - March 26, 2014 8:36 p.m.

    So fun fact, recent news is making me realize that in the future dystopia as seen in various Cyberpunk stories when we continue on the path to integrating with computers, the Megacorps are going to be shit like Facebook and Disney. We won't have Shadowrunners running around with swords and guns and cyberclaws, but we will have independent hackers and government spooks monitoring the world as we walks the streets plugged into the net and never seeing the world without some interface between us and it. It's disappointing that the only evil Megacorp with an appropriately Cyberpunky name is going to be Monsanto.
  • GOD - March 26, 2014 12:28 p.m.

    Trying to hold back the negative thoughts..... but come on! At the very least, it will have some nonsense full facebook integration so your game immersion will constantly be ruined by a floating pop up in your line of site about blah blah that so and so posted. Even if you turn that off it will probably try and remind you every two seconds to turn it back on for what they'll say is better "social immersion." I was probably never going to own an OR, but I feel bad for the people who were really looking forward to it now.....
  • stefan-heisenberg - March 27, 2014 10:31 a.m.

    No it won't. Luckey even confirmed it won't. Check out his reddit.
  • shawksta - March 26, 2014 10:57 a.m.

    hmm, well i was expecting something surprising to pop up these days, but not this. Maybe your right Lucas.
  • lvl1201 - March 26, 2014 8:59 a.m.

    And yet another platform i wont be spending money on.
  • MeTimeFreeTime - March 26, 2014 8:44 a.m.

    Biggest sellout of the year!
  • homestar99 - March 26, 2014 1:42 a.m.

    I'm sorry if anyone takes offense to this but I just had to say this. Fuck Facebook. I only signed up for benefits in games and 'cos it was easier than listening to women never shut their fucking mouths about it. It's a pile of shit that makes everyone believe that people care about the trivial activities they do every day. It makes people think that others care about the stupid shit they do. I think it exists so it can give a false sense that people care. When somebody talks about boring things like they're more important than anyone or anything else around them I want to stove their head in with a brick. I guess what I'm trying to say is that Facebook and gaming should stay the fuck away from each other and Mark Zuckerburg should have his head stoved in with a brick for creating a life sharing site and making me lose faith in OC. Project Morpheus is now my preferred future VR headset for not being associated with twats.
  • billy-151 - March 26, 2014 2:15 a.m.

    Thank you for reminding me why I assume all people that wear a fedora are twats haha
  • wiitard07 - March 26, 2014 5:05 a.m.

    I can't quite see his neck.... But I'll assume its got stone hair on there...
  • homestar99 - March 26, 2014 8:43 a.m.

    Ever try thinking about how few people actually use their personal picture on a website like this. That's not my picture, I don't even own a fedora. They are twats, but that's just photo ripped from Google Images that I use to see who judges me by my comment and who changes the meaning of said comment when they see the fedora in the photo. What do you think of the comment above if you ignore the photo? I just hate social media sites like Facebook.
  • wiitard07 - March 26, 2014 1:45 p.m.

    Then when I look at your comment you sound like a bitter twat without a hat on:)
  • homestar99 - March 26, 2014 10:25 p.m.

    Whatever, its your opinion mate.
  • mothbanquet - March 27, 2014 9:53 a.m.

    Sigh...the ignorance of youth, eh? I remember when I was so vocal and obnoxious. Luckily I didn't have Facebook to show other people what a dick I sounded.
  • Vonter - March 26, 2014 9:26 p.m.

    Is that Yahtzee from Zero Punctuation?
  • homestar99 - March 26, 2014 10:24 p.m.

  • pl4y4h - March 26, 2014 8:33 a.m.

    Man, I'd hate to see your rant about Twitter!
  • homestar99 - March 26, 2014 8:58 a.m.

    Twitter: Facebook with word restriction and even more sharing about your pointless day. The thing that makes it even worse is that it brought on the age of incorrectly spelling things to "save time" and "make do with typing restrictions". How bout instead people get a life, delete their accounts, and actually do something in their lives other than inform people what they're doing every second of the day 'cos they think their lives are interesting when in reality they should all be bricked in the head. Fuck Twitter. Oh, and as long as I'm on a roll, FUCK HASHTAGS!!!!!!!!! Every time I see one I think "brick stoving time!" and proceed to wonder why someone would EVER want to click on one of them. They're like a little figurehead on top of the giant gates to social media hell. The turd someone took on an already gross and badly made mud pie. It just makes something terrible become appalling to look at. On second thought, remember all those times I said "stove insert name here's head in with a brick". Change that to having a shotgun shoved up their ass and then fired. Social media can go fuck itself.

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