facebook-buys-oculus-vrIt’s hard to overestimate the impact the news that Facebook, the social media behemoth, had agreed to acquire Oculus VR an 18 month old startup that Kickstarted virtual reality. Although it’s fair to say that there’s probably no one working for Oculus with illusions about how the news might first be greeted, I suspect more than a few were surprised at the severity and swiftness of the VR community’s reaction.

There were mock pictures of DK1’s being burned, reports emerged of DK2 pre-orders being cancelled in disgust. High profile Minecraft developer ‘Notch’ illustrated his disappointment by declaring all development for the Oculus Rift would now cease. Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus VR also took some major flak on the subreddit /r/oculus as he explained and defended the decision to sell. It was a fairly tumultuous 48 hours.

But, as is the case with storms, it passed. The influx of VR community ‘outsiders’ took their bile elsewhere, DK2 pre-orders were quietly re-instated and a more reasoned form of debate resumed. When people put aside the knee-jerk response to everyone’s favourite Internet villain acquiring their beloved and plucky underdog and considered what this could mean for the future of virtual reality, it dawned on them that this could well be a very good thing indeed.

One of many 'hilarious' post Facebook acquisition VR Headset mockups
One of many ‘hilarious’ post Facebook acquisition VR Headset mockups

Meanwhile, the legal steps required to complete the process were being made. In April the US’s FCC declared the deal had passed its Anti-trust tests. Now, the California Department of Business Oversight has declared the merger fair – results of the hearing can be found here (WARNING: Legalese Alert!). This concludes the acquisition for the total and rather precise sum of $2,001,985,000 – largely made up in Facebook stock. The breakdown is reported thus:

The aggregate potential amount of consideration to be paid by Facebook in
exchange for all of Oculus VR’s outstanding stock on a fully-diluted basis 8

(the “Total Consideration”) is $460,000,000 in cash and 26,532,083
shares of Facebook Common Stock, of which $60,000,000 in cash (the
“Contingent Cash Payment Consideration”) and 3,460,706 shares of
Facebook Common Stock (the “Contingent Stock Payment
Consideration”) are payable and issuable, respectively, following the
Closing and upon the achievement of certain milestones (the “Contingent

For me, as someone who also ran the gamut of emotions upon reading (and writing) the news, I’m of the opinion that the merger was probably the best possible way to ensure Oculus VR’s vision of virtual reality achieves the momentum required to succeed. Subsequent statements from Oculus indicate the company can now not only focus on acquiring the best possible people but that the long awaited Oculus Rift CV1 (Consumer Version One) will be sold at near cost in order to get people onboard.

Congratulations to the Oculus VR team, I reckon Facebook landed a bargain!

Via: Techcrunch

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Based in the UK, Paul has been immersed in interactive entertainment for the best part of 27 years and has followed advances in gaming with a passionate fervour. His obsession with graphical fidelity over the years has had him branded a ‘graphics whore’ (which he views as the highest compliment) more than once and he holds a particular candle for the dream of the ultimate immersive gaming experience. Having followed and been disappointed by the original VR explosion of the 90s, he then founded RiftVR.com to follow the new and exciting prospect of the rebirth of VR in products like the Oculus Rift. Paul joined forces with Ben to help build the new Road to VR in preparation for what he sees as VR’s coming of age over the next few years.
  • Curtrock

    You had me @ 460,000,000! That is an almost unfathomable amount of cash, to my understanding. I’m glad most of the Facebook haters have moved on. Although my sarcastic comments cup runneth over at the time, I decided it was better not to chime in, and just let people rant, without offering my thoughts on how petty I though their “faux” indignation was. My “fanboy” loyalty to Oculus prevented me from seeing the acquisition in anything but the most positive of lights. Facebook is irrelevant to me….VR is everything to me. If at some point in time, I’m forced to “log-in” to my rift, and Facebook data-mines my activities….well, I guess that’s a price I’m willing to pay. I cannot understate how ridiculous I thought people were, when they used FB, to cry about FB. It still strikes me as the pinnacle of “effete”ism. My DK2 should be on its way soon, and I applaud all who stuck by Oculus & Palmer. I look forward to “seeing you all, in the game” (stated with an extremely nerdy comic-book guy voice)

  • an4rchos

    Just hope facebook wont become IOI in the future… :)

  • sponge101

    I don’t think anyone is questioning the notion of an Oculus acquisition and all the benefits that it will bring but rather more so on the acquirer being Facebook and all the controversies it had.

    Many (myself included) thought another company, say Google, would have been a more fitting partner. But since the deal is done (and slightly past announced date) let’s hope for the best.

  • Anyone

    Let’s hope that Facebook doesn’t ruin VR in general.

    The outlook is grim.
    The most shocking example shows that reality may be even worse than predicted by critical minds: “Elite: Dangerous” not only will force Facebook rift users to accept data-mining in their EULA, but actually _every_ user! So in this game the data-mining concern not only attacks the privacy of rift owners, or VR users in general, but even of people who have no clue about what HMD means.

    Probably this is the goal of Facebook: They don’t need a restricted walled garden just working with the rift, they just “force” VR games to implement their data-mining routines, regardless of hardware used.

    If true, if this criminal* notion of “privacy is obsolete” becomes the norm, if every company has to data-mine its “customers” to the fullest to compete on the global market, this could become a huge threat for gaming and even society in general – or it already has.

    * There are laws in Europe against what Facebook is doing.

    • ZombieP

      As long as they don’t steal my credit card number and go on a spending spree, Im good.