Two cents blog

Facebook buys Oculus Rift

by Barney Vollans on 26 March 2014

Facebook has bought Oculus Rift for $2 billion USD – so what is it exactly that they have bought and why?

Oculus Rift is a head-mounted virtual reality display that was first shown to the public in June 2012. It was financed on Kickstarter in August of the same year and raised $2.5 million USD – $2.25 million more than they were asking for.

post_facebook-buys-oculus-rift-1

There were three key factors in its success:

1)      It was relatively cheap – you could buy a beta “developers” kit for $300 USD

2)      It was a really sensible business model – they wanted people to start producing content as soon as possible so they could inform the development of the hardware and by the time the device was ready for retail there would be things you could use it for, games you play, movies you could watch

3)      It was bloody good – by all accounts head and shoulders better than anything that had been produced before

This isn’t new technology; commercial virtual reality solutions have been around for over 30 years but they’ve been plagued with technical issues, expensive, poorly supported and prone to make the users sick.

post_facebook-buys-oculus-rift-2

However, advances in technology, processing power, screens and sensors inspired two home enthusiasts to buy off the shelf components and make the Oculus Rift. A device that was cheap, worked really well and they’d even come up with a plan to get lots of content developed for it.

While this may seem little more than a gimmick today, it has potential that stretches far beyond video game player’s dreams and into changing the way we work, rest as well as the way we play.

Facebook see the potential.  Google, Sony, Microsoft also see that potential.

My advice is to watch this virtual space.

Barney Vollans is a Senior Digital Producer at BCM

- Adrian Hernandez on April 5

What's really disappointing about the news is that the crowd funded this project and Facebook, well Mark, just bought it for no apparent (yet) reason. I have no clue how they are going to use it, how they are going to incorporate it with Facebook, I really don't know anything.

- Paul Cornwell on March 27

Great post Barney. What's also interesting about this story is the pissed off people who contributed to the Kickstarter funding for Oculus only to find that 'their' venture had been sold to Facebook. Raises questions for me about the ethics of such a move and also what expectations people have when they contribute to a crowd-funded project.

Add your two cents?

Your comment has been received and will appear shortly. Thank you.

There was an error submitting your comment. Please review the fields and try again.

Loading
Back to all posts