Facebook is buying Oculus VR, a startup that makes virtual reality headsets, in a $US2 billion deal.
Oculus doesn’t make a consumer product yet, but its headset called the Oculus Rift for video game developers has completely changed the way many feel about video games.
Oculus owes a lot of its success to a successful Kickstarter campaign and the strong support of its community, who has since congregated on the r/oculus section of Reddit.
Likely anticipating a negative reaction from his devoted followers, Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey took to the subreddit to explain why the young virtual reality company decided to join forces with Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook.
After a brief introduction, Luckey says that Facebook’s resources will let the fledgling company get their product to market even faster:
Partnering with Mark and the Facebook team is a unique and powerful opportunity. The partnership accelerates our vision, allows us to execute on some of our most creative ideas and take risks that were otherwise impossible. Most importantly, it means a better Oculus Rift with fewer compromises even faster than we anticipated.
Here’s his full post:
I’ve always loved games. They’re windows into worlds that let us travel somewhere fantastic. My foray into virtual reality was driven by a desire to enhance my gaming experience; to make my rig more than just a window to these worlds, to actually let me step inside them. As time went on, I realised that VR technology wasn’t just possible, it was almost ready to move into the mainstream. All it needed was the right push.
We started Oculus VR with the vision of making virtual reality affordable and accessible, to allow everyone to experience the impossible. With the help of an incredible community, we’ve received orders for over 75,000 development kits from game developers, content creators, and artists around the world. When Facebook first approached us about partnering, I was sceptical. As I learned more about the company and its vision and spoke with Mark, the partnership not only made sense, but became the clear and obvious path to delivering virtual reality to everyone. Facebook was founded with the vision of making the world a more connected place. Virtual reality is a medium that allows us to share experiences with others in ways that were never before possible.
Facebook is run in an open way that’s aligned with Oculus’ culture. Over the last decade, Mark and Facebook have been champions of open software and hardware, pushing the envelope of innovation for the entire tech industry. As Facebook has grown, they have continued to invest in efforts like with the Open Compute Project, their initiative that aims to drive innovation and reduce the cost of computing infrastructure across the industry. This is a team that’s used to making bold bets on the future.
In the end, I kept coming back to a question we always ask ourselves every day at Oculus: what’s best for the future of virtual reality? Partnering with Mark and the Facebook team is a unique and powerful opportunity. The partnership accelerates our vision, allows us to execute on some of our most creative ideas and take risks that were otherwise impossible. Most importantly, it means a better Oculus Rift with fewer compromises even faster than we anticipated.
Very little changes day-to-day at Oculus, although we’ll have substantially more resources to build the right team. If you want to come work on these hard problems in computer vision, graphics, input, and audio, please apply!
This is a special moment for the gaming industry — Oculus’ somewhat unpredictable future just became crystal clear: virtual reality is coming, and it’s going to change the way we play games forever.
I’m obsessed with VR. I spend every day pushing further, and every night dreaming of where we are going. Even in my wildest dreams, I never imagined we’d come so far so fast.
I’m proud to be a member of this community — thank you all for carrying virtual reality and gaming forward and trusting in us to deliver. We won’t let you down.