Today Facebook announced that it had acquired Oculus VR, the company behind the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, for $US2 billion. The move marks a giant leap for the company — what started as an accessory for gaming enthusiasts is now owned by one of the largest tech companies in the world.
And it all happened rather quickly. Oculus VR blew past its Kickstarter campaign in September 2012 raising 2.4 million, which is far past its initial goal of $US250,000. The company has yet to release a consumer-ready version of the Oculus Rift, but it successfully closed $US16 million in Series A funding co-lead by Spark Capital and Matrix Partners in June 2013. Then, in December, the company raised $US75 million in Series B funding led by Andreessen Horowitz.
“Designed by gamers, for gamers,” reads Oculus VR ‘s original Kickstarter page. But Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg envisions use cases far beyond gaming. Here’s what Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post regarding the announcement:
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.
Here’s a look at the Kickstarter page that convinced one of the biggest social media platforms to invest in virtual reality.
And here’s the video that had nearly 10 million people hooked:
Although,the company never connected its Kickstarter page to Facebook.
The original Kickstarter page mentions that Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset made “specifically for video games,” but the device has been used for much more than gaming since then. Earlier this year, the headset was featured in a promotion for HBO’s “Game of Thrones” that thrust wearers directly into the show’s wintry universe.
It’s unclear exactly how Facebook will integrate with Oculus VR’s technology or when we’ll begin to see its influence, but it’s clear that the device is much more than it was originally envisioned to be.