Some deals take months, but Facebook completed its purchase of Oculus VR in 72 hours
Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe says the "accelerated" acquisition is emblematic of Facebook's commitment to moving fast.
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Some tech industry deals take months to finalize, but Facebook's $2 billion purchase of Oculus VR was completed in just 72 hours, Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe said in a new interview.
"We got the deal done with Facebook in three days. That's how accelerated it was. We locked ourselves up in the Facebook HQ and did the deal," Iribe told VentureBeat. "I have been through a few of these deals now and they usually take months. This was done in three days. That's incredible. That's their commitment to moving fast. We are moving fast and getting together to make the next computing platform."
Facebook's buyout of Oculus VR breaks down to $400 million in cash and $1.6 billion worth of Facebook shares. Oculus VR is also eligible for another $300 million in performance-based bonuses. Though the deal to sell Oculus VR to Facebook was completed in three days, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's interest in the virtual reality technology dates back quite a while.
"At one point, we were introduced to Mark Zuckerberg. He was really interested in what we were doing. He was fascinated like other people in the geek community, or gaming community," Iribe said. "He was really excited about how we were making this thing work. He wanted me to show him the demo at Facebook. I told him there was a better demo down here in Irvine. He was able to hop on a flight down. He met the team. He saw the latest demos. We talked about the vision. The whole thing was about getting more comfortable with each other and the vision and becoming friends. He and I got to be really good friends, and Palmer met him, too. And then he asked, 'How can I help? How can Facebook help you?'"
Iribe recalled that he described the company's vision for what Oculus Rift could become, and then Zuckerberg brought up the idea of a partnership.
"'What if we partner with you? You stay the same. Stay who you are. You expand that vision and focus on other things also. Gaming is core. But how can we help and invest significantly into the platform, the hardware, and bring down the cost of it. We could make it more optimized, do custom silicon, make this even better. What if we also invest in the parts so you can sell the virtual reality platform at cost?,'" Iribe recalls Zuckerberg saying. "It would use the best components and build a superior technology platform. Then let’s sell it at cost."
Also in the interview, 21-year-old Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey acknowledged that the partnership of Oculus VR and Facebook does not make as much sense, right now at least, as Facebook's other recent acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram. However, Luckey said he expects people to better understand the role Facebook will play in the future of virtual reality as time progresses and certain announcements are made.
"We're going to have more good news about what we will be able to do now. We are working with Facebook, and we can't announce it yet," Luckey said. "Every developer we are working with has had a very positive reaction. My inbox is flooded by email. A huge number of developers. Some people are upset. But the vast majority who are actually software developers see why this is a good thing."
One prominent developer who is upset over the Facebook buyout of Oculus VR is Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson, who canceled a VR version of Minecraft after the deal was announced. Luckey says he hopes Notch will return once the dust settles.
"Notch is an exception to the rule. After he sees everything we are able to do, I hope he will change his mind," Luckey said.
Since the acquisition was announced yesterday, many backers of the Oculus Rift's original Kickstarter campaign have spoken out to criticize the sale. For his part, Luckey responded to many of these claims in a series of posts on Reddit yesterday and continuing today.