In a surprise move for Facebook, the announcement that they are buying the virtual reality headset company Oculus VR is a confusing one. The second-generation Oculus Rift headset is not yet available to the public and its current range of titles does not fit with the Facebook games model.
However, the Oculus Rift is a very cool piece of tech, and the sense of immersion it gives the player is truly spectacular. In light of this technology growing popularity, Sony has also announced their own VR headset named ‘Project Morpheus’ which is yet to get a solid launch date.
Many people are now asking why Facebook would want to buy a video game hardware company.
A statement from CEO Mark Zuckerberg, describes how Facebook plans to expand Oculus VR beyond gaming:
“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.”
“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.”
Zuckerberg elaborated on this during a conference call after the announcement, discussing how he believes virtual reality will be the next big computing platform after mobile devices.
“History suggests that there will be more platforms to come… Today’s acquisition is a long-term bet on the future of computing,” Zuckerberg said.
Whilst we welcome additional funding sources to the VR project I worry that the gaming spirit and direction of the project will be changed and monetized by the Social Media giant.
News has already surfaced that Minecraft on Oculus Rift is to be canceled due to the company not wanting to work with Facebook. Could this be the start of a divide that will grow between game developers and Facebook? Did Sony know of this deal ahead of time and looked to put VR back in the hands of a gaming company?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments…