Facebook buys Oculus Rift company in a massive deal worth an estimated $2 billion

"Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play, and communicate," says Mark Zuckerberg.

Social network Behemoth Facebook has acquired Oculus Rift developer Oculus VR in a massive deal worth an estimated $2 billion. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced the news today on, you guessed it, Facebook. You can read his full note below.

Facebook's deal includes $400 million in cash and 23.1 million Facebook shares, valued at $1.6 billion. The deal also includes a performance-based payout options, that could boost the sale by an additional $300 million in cash and stock if certain milestones are reached.

Oculus Rift may be popular with gamers, but Facebook plans to leverage the technology to other industries.

"Facebook plans to extend Oculus' existing advantage in gaming to new verticals, including communications, media and entertainment, education, and other areas," Facebook said in a statement. "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," Zuckerberg said. "Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play, and communicate."

Oculus will remain headquartered in Irvine, Calif. The Facebook-Oculus VR deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014. Facebook will hold a call tonight at 6:15 EDT to discuss the sale. Check back later for more.

Oculus VR released a statement of its own on the deal, explaining the surprising news and what it means for the future of virtual reality.

"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," Oculus said. "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," the company added. "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."

Finally, Oculus said in the next 10 years virtual reality will become "ubiquitous, affordable, and transformative."

Zuckerberg's full statement on the acquisition is below.

"I'm excited to announce that we've agreed to acquire Oculus VR, the leader in virtual reality technology.

Our mission is to make the world more open and connected. For the past few years, this has mostly meant building mobile apps that help you share with the people you care about. We have a lot more to do on mobile, but at this point we feel we're in a position where we can start focusing on what platforms will come next to enable even more useful, entertaining and personal experiences.

This is where Oculus comes in. They build virtual reality technology, like the Oculus Rift headset. When you put it on, you enter a completely immersive computer-generated environment, like a game or a movie scene or a place far away. The incredible thing about the technology is that you feel like you're actually present in another place with other people. People who try it say it's different from anything they've ever experienced in their lives.

Oculus's mission is to enable you to experience the impossible. Their technology 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. The Rift is highly anticipated by the gaming community, and there's a lot of interest from developers in building for this platform. 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.

But this is just the start. After games, we're going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. 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.

This is really a new communication platform. By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.

These are just some of the potential uses. By working with developers and partners across the industry, together we can build many more. One day, we believe this kind of immersive, augmented reality will become a part of daily life for billions of people.

Virtual reality was once the dream of science fiction. But the internet was also once a dream, and so were computers and smartphones. The future is coming and we have a chance to build it together. I can't wait to start working with the whole team at Oculus to bring this future to the world, and to unlock new worlds for all of us."

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Discussion

1418 comments
byzantine_chant
byzantine_chant

"The most social platform ever."?


Yeah, as if smothering your optic nervous system with pixels could ever be "social". VR is the antithesis of social. 


Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus belong in the place where all the flushed toilets lead to, along with all the other motion controlled gimmicks.  

dussan2
dussan2

So what about the Kickstarter donations?  Seems to me, you needed that money to get started and underway, now that you got your Zuckerberg check, you going to give that money back?



jumalan75
jumalan75

The good - Oculus has more money to make a better product


The bad - some gamers like me don't want forced social aspects to every game we play and device we use!!!!!  God when will it end!?  I play video games because I don't want to talk with others! I spend all day talking with people at my job!

BlackBaldwin
BlackBaldwin

Mwhahahaha not surprised by this news actually quite honestly this makes me happy soo much for the hope that was OR right?

Mudpooch
Mudpooch

Well this is just terrible news. Goodbye Oculus I hardly knew ye...

papacuppa
papacuppa

Resisting status quo bias. Gah, dang it! NOOOOOOOOO!!

jimmy_russell
jimmy_russell

Oculus R.I.P. Looking forward to Sony's Morpheus. I have a reason to throw away this PC and move into a PS4 now. I'm done with PC gaming, it's dead.

bluearms
bluearms

Occulus lift has been sold to other big company? that is understandable. they deserve it. But why facebook? Because occulus lift hide FACE if you equip it? (joke). I think that is not productive combination.

joey2010
joey2010

Facebook is just buying things left and right lol. I have no idea what this "Oculus Rift" thing is about (Yeah i live under a rock) but when you think of it, unlike companies like EA, they don't destroy what they buy and they are trustworthy. Worried people just need to chill.

omar_q
omar_q

Eh, Oculus was always overblown and overpraised imo. They were the 'first' to kinda start/get known with VR (I'd say Sony, MS and some big players were already dabbling in this behind the scenes) and this little guy decided to show it off first. I forget which company it was but some dev made a comment that that specific companys VR made the Oculus one look like a joke. 

So fret not, VR will happen regardless if Oculus even existed or not. 

traykey1
traykey1

Makes my decision easy.

Buy the PS 4 one lol.

I will not have anything to do with Hatebook.

feathers632
feathers632

Palmer has stated that the deal means "custom everything". "No longer having to rely on scraps". Complete custom design from start to finish. He's also dismissed rumours of a single facebook controlled portal for Oculus as BS. He isn't going to let anything bad happen to his vision. I've been thinking about why it is people have reacted this way. It's down to how we perceive Zuckerberg versus Luckey. I don't think the Facebook movie helped Zuckerberg's image either. It's the polar opposite of the way Palmer is perceived. With Palmer we see someone with a genuine openness and passion to make his vision succeed. Someone who started from nothing but has achieved a lot in a short space of time. The view we have of Mark is very different. Kind of the arrogant nerd who can't be trusted with our privacy. However unfair this view is, it seems to have stuck and I guess the rapid expansion and world domination of Facebook further serves to alienate people. Yet here I am posting on facebook and interacting with friends there every day. So from my perspective there is some degree of hypocrisy in my negativity towards it.


After hearing from Palmer on Facebook I believe he is still just as committed to making Oculus succeed for the right reasons. Oculus will remain an open VR platform but with unlimited resources to optimise and deliver perhaps something even better than he could have hoped for. So despite my initial negative reaction I'm going to say that I still trust Palmer's vision for Oculus and I still intend to buy.

kludermor
kludermor

If you don't like the Rift then don't buy it. But the rift will be the same as original promised. Maybe even better at launch. Stop whining everyone. More money can create a better product, and I'm sure lots of people complaining in this discussion have a facebook account.

jader_vere
jader_vere

Sooo a big FU to Farcebook. The Rift was looking awesome and now I have Zero interest in it. Farcebook will load it with terms and conditions which say that it must have access to everything you do. Software installation for it will include a key logger to track everything for a better Rift experience aka better marketing information!! No Thanks!!

Ayato_Kamina_1
Ayato_Kamina_1

I have no trust in a company like Facebook... too many ulterior motives. I'll pass on what I initially considered an intriguing piece of hardware.

Dieknochenblume
Dieknochenblume

I'm against it. I thought about the possibilities and they do seem tempting only in theory. Imagine just losing yourself (alone, or with other friends connected) whenever you want, having a conversation on the moon, role-playing in a forest, whatever. Yet, why is this different from connecting ourselves to a machine that shocks our brains specifically to give us orgasms and makes us live our fondest memories, time and time again? It's like losing ourselves, really, and that sucks. A lot of junkies and drunks would love more immersion (a la "Inception" where guys just go somewhere to sleep all day and live in their dreams because they hate reality), so this worries me a lot more than just a nasty company buying a cool one.

Crocodile3
Crocodile3

Blinkered thinking: If you had $2BN to invest in a firm, who would you invest in? I think that this is shrewd purchase that will give Facebook a more diverse investment portfolio and will provide the Oculus designers the necessary capital to bring a great product to market (faster) to compete with the designs of Microsoft and Sony. 


Gaming is a hobby that used to be founded on innovation. It is sad that every time a company tries something different (Kinect/Oculus) it is derided and subject to idiotic fanboyism. If the detractors that are commenting here are as negative in their day to day lives then I pity you. 


Don't worry, be happy.

doraemon1987
doraemon1987

THIS IS SONY'S YEAR BABY! looooool, 

Fuck you Oculus 

dysonlu
dysonlu

For the people who funded this kickstarter:  It's like the city/community developed a pro athlete and then the said pro athlete signs with another city's pro team.  You can still watch him play but...

kryotech
kryotech

This doesn't sound good....

Nepti
Nepti

Seems most everything happening in computer and video games these days is less and less interesting. Occulas was looking somewhat interesting but now not so much.

irishstanddown_
irishstanddown_

"At first glance, it might not seem obvious why Oculus is partnering with Facebook..." I can give you 1.6 billion reasons why.

muco29
muco29

F*****g facebook everywhere. Morpheus it is then.

bmart970
bmart970

I need to come up with something unique so that Zuckerburg will buy it for way too much money (WhatsApp).

ringringabel
ringringabel

DERAILED....zuckerburg strikes again

guess it's up to Sony now to actually focus on gaming with their VR headset

msdevpro
msdevpro

This acquisition should have come from Microsoft...VR is the future of gaming.  Sony obviously recognized this and is in the process of releasing their own VR product.  Microsoft is making the same mistakes in gaming as they made in the mobile phone market.  Hopefully facebook is using this as a means to enter the hardware/gaming space because I don't think the future of social networking is a good fit for this arena.

McGregor
McGregor

Well, don't screw us facebook. Oculus isn't made for VR farmville.

OllieBrown
OllieBrown

Will this derail the hopes for VR, no.  However, it MUST change the philosophy and vision of Oculus.  They are open, supporting of developers, supporting of the value of feedback and input from the crowd, of the power of open standards and open communities that share their ideas rather than hold them close and monetize them. You yourself@doc-brown  pointed out that this was the big distinction between Project Morpheus and Oculus.

Facebook is almost the exact opposite.  They are more like Sony in their desire to hold their technologies close at hand and monetize them through targeted advertising.  I think this is BAD for consumers, good for Facebook and neutral (but non-virtuous) for Oculus.  Now it looks like we will have two companies taking the same approach to VR (Sony and Oculus) and the differences between them will be much less apparent.  Other players (like Google and Valve) are likely to be in the same vein.  I am very disappointed in the loss of choice this represents for us consumers of VR.  It looks like greed.  I can only hope they put it to good use and make the Rift better with the money rather than use it to buy Ferraris and Yachts.

jumalan75
jumalan75

@joey2010 Everything you said was great until you said... trustworthy....

bluearms
bluearms

@omar_q In fact, Sony is already selling their version of occulus lift with ps4, that seems selling well.

jimmy_russell
jimmy_russell

@kludermor I won't buy it. I don't have a Facebook account. I take your comments as insulting to my intelligence. Not everyone is as gullible or stupid as you, believe it or not.

jumalan75
jumalan75

@jader_vere seriously....  So tired of this look into our lives crap and flooding me with ads or whatever they think is best for me!  #@%K!

PumpkinBoogie
PumpkinBoogie

@ringringabel  IKR.....now gamers will officially disassociate their interest in Oculus. Because when FB gets involved nothing good usually comes from it. The 'Facebook phone', anyone? 

feathers632
feathers632

@msdevpro  Mark Knickerbocker has no interest in gaming market.  They only want advertising revenue and information collection.