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Facebook Buys Virtual Reality Product Company Oculus VR for $2 Billion
Social media giant Facebook has announced it is buying Oculus VR, a California-based company that creates virtual reality products, for an estimated sum of $2 billion. The flagship product of the company, Oculus Rift, is a goggle-like headset for immersive gaming. Oculus is the brainchild of 21-year-old Palmer Luckey, who was entirely homeschooled by his parents – a car salesman and a homemaker.
Oculus VR began with funds raised through crowdfunding site Kickstarter, followed by investment and participation by major stakeholders. In a statement, Facebook’s CEO Zuckerberg said Oculus’ technologies could, “change the way we work, play and communicate.”
Though the Oculus Rift is yet to be released to consumers – it was first created as a product only meant for developers – there are already more than 75,000 orders for the development kits. Facebook said that it plans to use Oculus technologies for “communications, media and entertainment, education and other areas.”
In its Kickstarter campaign, Oculus was able to raise 10 times the amount it originally sought. After being crowdfunded for $2.4 million, investors provided another $75 million. The Oculus Rift was showcased by video game legend John Carmack at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2012 with rave reviews.
The deal for Oculus involves $400 million in cash and something over 23 million Facebook shares valued at $1.6 billion. If the company achieves its targets then Oculus employees would receive an additional $300 million.
Indicating that virtual reality may well be the future, Zuckerberg said, “Mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow.” He added, “Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever …”
Brendan Iribe, co-founder and CEO of Oculus VR said, “We believe virtual reality will be heavily defined by social experiences that connect people in magical, new ways. It is a transformative and disruptive technology, that enables the world to experience the impossible, and it’s only just the beginning.”
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