Facebook invests in virtual reality with Oculus


Facebook invests in virtual reality with Oculus

News: social network Facebook has paid $2 billion to acquire Oculus VR, the technology company behind the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement on his own Facebook page yesterday, stating that his company will help Oculus VR develop its products and find new applications for the virtual reality technology.

"This is really a new communication platform," said Zuckerberg. "By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life."

First launched on crowd-funding website Kickstarter in 2012, Oculus Rift creates an immersive computer-generated environment in front of the wearer.

The technology is already set to change the way video games are played and Facebook plans to see this realised. "Immersive gaming will be the first, and Oculus already has big plans here that won't be changing and we hope to accelerate," said Zuckerberg.

Earlier this year Dezeen filmed a movie with Andy Millns of 3D production company Inition, which has been working with Oculus VR to develop the headset.

"Oculus Rift has been sort of the poster child for virtual reality," Millns said. "What you've got essentially is a seven-inch mobile phone-type screen and two lenses. It's that simple."

Oculus Rift was demonstrated at an installation in London department store Selfridges, in which users could experience a virtual world designed by Inition with fashion designer Gareth Pugh.

The device is currently in the running for the Designs of the Year 2014 prize organised by London's Design Museum.

  • Romain_M

    Now try walking into a bar in San Francisco with THOSE on your face!

    • And

      The Oculus isn’t the same thing as Google Glass, you wouldn’t wear those outside. Oculus Rift is alternate reality, Google Glass is augmented reality.

  • GP

    Zuckerberg, Mark Zuckerberg

    • Oops! We’ve corrected the spelling mistake now, thanks for pointing it out.

  • Rae Claire

    Oh, I think that apparatus might be well-received in San Francisco, especially if one also wears the correct shirt.

    Seriously, though when The Zuckmeister says “by feeling truly present” without irony (it appears) I am cognisant that he is SO young, and am inclined to forgive him, except when I consider that his fortune and influence enabled him to lead/push/ tempt/cajole so many of us into accepting his definition of “sharing.”

  • Romain_M

    Indeed it is ;) I just wanted to make a stupid joke.

    But since you’re keen to discuss the matter more seriously: isn’t it odd to see Facebook make the jump to virtual reality when their competitors are still working on mediated reality?

    With tech titans vying to control our perception of reality, don’t you think we’ll one day come to a compromise between Glass and Rift ?

    • And

      I’m not really too surprised that Facebook is buying in to VR since gaming has been a pretty important part of their strategy for a number of years now and I’m sure they’re well aware of how much money branching out into the wider games industry can offer, and perhaps into the workplace and home entertainment industry in general. Facebook is also already firmly planted on mobile platforms and its mobile monetisation will still work with Google Glass so I don’t think they’ll be too worried about that.

      As for a Glass Rift cross over, I don’t see why some of that couldn’t be a good idea, although I’d imagine them to compliment each other rather – Glass for when you’re on the move, and Rift for when you’re back home, or in work (I could see it used for 3D movies, although I’d find it very useful when working in 3D software like 3DS Max or sculpting packages). Games peripherals like the Kinect, standard Xbox controllers and Wiimotes have been used for plenty of non-gaming uses already, and I think the Rift’s got the potential for a lot of uses, so Facebook probably want in on some that by the sounds of their announcement.

      I hope it makes it big anyway. People are arguing that it has sold out but I think they’ve genuinely done what they thought would be the best for their little company, and it should help them create a better device overall. Time will tell though whether any of their fears about advertising or so on will come true, but I’m honestly hoping it turns out great – VR will probably sink or swim on how this goes, at least for the foreseeable future.

      • Romain_M

        Thumbs up for your comprehensive reply! Here’s hoping Facebook makes a smooth entry in the hardware world :)

  • The Matrix is born!