Facebook Buys Oculus Rift

Chris Bunn

How far will Facebook intertwine itself with up-and-coming technology?

On March 25, 2014, Facebook agreed to purchase the virtual reality company Oculus VR for $2 billion. This news follows after Facebook’s recent purchase of Whatsapp earlier this year, as well as their purchase of Instagram last year. However, unlike Facebook’s past company purchases, this company deals with something other than social media and communication app companies.

Like Whatsapp and Instagram, Oculus VR has first started up as a small tech startup in 2012. At debut at the Electronics Entertainment Expo in 2012, their main product, the Oculus Rift, has received praise for its affordable entry into an emerging technology. The Oculus Rift is an immersive headset that was designed for use in video games. Afterwards, Oculus VR announced a kickstarter campaign to generate enough funds to start manufacturing. At the start of the campaign, the company has set a $250,000 goal in order to move the product past the prototype stage. However, at the the end of the campaign, the company has smashed that goal, managing to raise almost 10 times that amount. Since that time, the company has gone on to create different versions of their virtual headset, and has continued to work towards a general consumer release.

At news of Facebook’s acquisition of the company, a sense of general discontent for the company has arisen. Many believe that Facebook may try to stymie the development of the headset for widespread consumer release. Some has even gone as far to speculate how Facebook will utilize Oculus’ technology. There may be the possibility of future Facebook games being able to take advantage of this technology, once it becomes more commonplace.

One of the most vocal groups on the acquisition is the Kickstarter backers. Many of them felt cheated out of a return on their investment. While the point of Kickstarter is that a backer receives a product a company has promised them rather than a specific share in the company, many backers still feel like they have signed on to something on which they didn’t agree.

 While many people may see this as only a small part of Facebook’s string of company buyouts, the fact that one of the most promising tech companies has been bought out by a social media giant has left some discontent. No matter the reason, there is no doubt that the futures of both Facebook and Oculus VR is intertwined.