Facebook buys Oculus VR 3/26/14

By Chris Johnson

Oculus Rift dev kit. Photo by Sergey Galyonkin.

Yesterday, Facebook announced that they were acquiring Oculus VR, the company behind the breakthrough virtual reality headset, the Oculus Rift.

I recently had the chance to try the Oculus Rift at a Game of Thrones fan event1. While using it certainly makes you look like an uber-dork, that doesn’t matter once you’re immersed in a new reality. It was simply incredible. And that was just a first generation demo version. They’ve already made two upgrades since then and I can hardly imagine how great the technology will be in a couple years. I highly recommend trying one as soon as you get the chance. Words can’t do it justice.

When I heard about the acquisition, I was concerned Facebook might hinder rather than help this awesome new technology. I wasn’t the only one. Facebook and their rivals have a history of acquiring promising companies as a back door way of hiring great people while shutting down those companies’ original products. While that doesn’t seem to be the case here2, there is still a risk Oculus VR’s attention could be diverted away from their original goals in an effort to please their new bosses.

Given how promising the Oculus Rift already is, I’m cautiously optimistic that this acquisition will go more the way of Instagram than Gowalla. If not, there’s always Project Morpheus.

Photo by Sergey Galyonkin

  1. At the Game of Thrones event, the Oculus Rift was used to take us on a virtual trip up to the top of the Wall where we could look out over the snowy Wildling lands.  

  2. In Mark Zuckerberg’s own words: “We’re going to focus on helping Oculus build out their product and develop partnerships to support more games. Oculus will continue operating independently within Facebook to achieve this.”