Facebook Drops $2B on Virtual Reality Pioneer

Oculus buy 'creeps out' game makers

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 26, 2014 2:15 AM CDT

(Newser) – Facebook has bought pioneering virtual-reality headset maker Oculus for $2 billion, and Mark Zuckerberg is pretty excited about it. The startup's immersive headset for video game developers has been a big hit, but Facebook appears ready to take virtual reality beyond gaming, Business Insider finds. "After games, we're going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences," Zuckerberg writes in a Facebook post. "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. "

The headset is "different from anything I've ever experienced in my life," Zuckerberg said during a conference call following the announcement. "Today's acquisition is a long-term bet on the future of computing." But while Facebook is enthusiastic about the buy, game makers are less than thrilled about the company's move into virtual reality, Time and AdWeek report. Soon after the announcement, Minecraft creator Markus Persson said he had canceled plans for an Oculus version of the game because Facebook "creeps him out." Facebook is "not a game tech company," he explained in a blog post. It cares "about building user numbers, and nothing but building user numbers." But over at Mashable, Chris Taylor urges everyone to put their freakout on hold: "Facebook has a history of funding its big purchases well and letting them run themselves independently." So any Matrix-esque scenario "is as unreal and unlikely as anything you'd see in VR."

A man tries the Oculus virtual reality headset at the Game Developers Conference 2014 in San Francisco last week.
A man tries the Oculus virtual reality headset at the Game Developers Conference 2014 in San Francisco last week.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
A user tries the Oculus virtual reality headset at the Game Developers Conference 2014 in San Francisco.
A user tries the Oculus virtual reality headset at the Game Developers Conference 2014 in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
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