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Facebook Finalises Acquisition Of Virtual Reality Company Oculus

Zuckerberg Sees Future In Virtual Reality Headset

Facebook has finalised their acquisition of Oculus Rift, the virtual reality start-up. The social media giant declared the intended deal in April, but it has taken some months for the deal to be completed. The eventual price for Oculus Rift was $1.6 billion in Facebook stocks and shares, and a further $400 million in cash.

Mark Zuckerberg has declared that ‘Oculus will continue operating independently within Facebook’ and that the virtual reality company will continue in the games-focused direction it was headed before the take-over was announced.

Of course, the vast resources and reach of Facebook cannot help but influence the future of Oculus. Beyond the immediate possibilities for entertainment, the potential for a wholly immersive experience in any imaginable scenario is vast. Those who have already invested in Oculus have been assured that the headset’s primary intention as a gaming advice will be followed through to completion, but Facebook’s promise of a further $300 million in cash if Oculus hits certain milestones over the coming years will no doubt influence their business decisions beyond the immediate future.

The controversy surrounding the deal is based in the same concerns which have plagued Facebook ever since it became the pre-eminent social network. Worries regarding privacy, user manipulation, and data mining have heightened around the possibility that Zuckerberg may leverage his influence in the emerging virtual reality market to restrict and monetise access, thereby restricting development in what many see as the next great leap forward in technological and social innovation.

Zuckerberg described his vision as ‘imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.’ Considered alongside Google’s experimentation with Google Glass as a way of blurring the divide between physical life and online social media, such pronouncements are in keeping with industry aspirations over the next 5+ years.

Facebook’s general business model – to focus on expanding the user base and only then start seeking ways to monetise it – means that any revenue streams they expect to establish through Oculus probably won’t be apparent for some time. In addition, the price and quality of the hardware needed is still some way from being accessible to all on the same level as smartphones. Considering the problems with consistent implantation of Google Glass, and the failure to mass-produce widely satisfactory 3D home entertainment systems, virtual reality headsets probably won’t be on the shelves for a couple of Christmases yet.

Nonetheless, anticipation is high. Facebook’s vast cash reserves means that Oculus won’t have to woo investors in the same way as most other start-ups, and barring issues with patenting the move should at the very least encourage other developers to start considering virtual reality as a serious option for future consideration. Just as only ten years ago few would have imagined that 70% of people would be accessing their social media on mobile at this stage, so too can we expect to see a radical paradigm shift in the way in which communication on an individual level changes as a result of this deal.

Douglas is an English Literature graduate who has written about everything from music to food to theatre, now a content creator for Social Media Frontiers. No topic too large or too small. Follow him @DouglasAtSMF.

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Facebook Finalises Acquisition Of Virtual Reality Company Oculus Reviewed by Anonymous on Friday, July 25, 2014 Rating: 5
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