Anime was weird last year.
Today, the social media company announced its plans to acquire the virtual reality company Oculus VR for $2 billion ($400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook stock, currently valued at $1.6 billion).
In a statement released two hours ago, Facebook owner and creator Mark Zuckerberg had a lot to say about the upcoming purchase. “Their technology opens up the possibility of completely new kinds of experiences. Immersive gaming will be the first, and Oculus already has big plans here that won’t be changing and we hope to accelerate,” said Zuckerbergh.
“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.”
Zuckerberg also focused on Oculus’ potential as a social platform, like being able to simulate the act of being at a sports game or consulting with a doctor without leaving your home. “Virtual reality was once the dream of science fiction. But the internet was also once a dream, and so were computers and smartphones. The future is coming and we have a chance to build it together.”
The Oculus VR team also posted about the acquisition on their blog, explaining why they agreed to the purchase. “This partnership is one of the most important moments for virtual reality: it gives us the best shot at truly changing the world. It opens doors to new opportunities and partnerships, reduces risk on the manufacturing and work capital side, allows us to publish more made-for-VR content, and lets us focus on what we do best: solving hard engineering challenges and delivering the future of VR.”
According to Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey, “very little changes day-to-day at Oculus.” The current team will remain at the company’s headquarters in Irvine, CA.
This news was received with a high level of trepidation from multiple parties, including Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson. Although Notch had been talking with Oculus VR about creating a version of Minecraft designed for the system, he decided to cancel the port upon hearing this news.
In a post on Notch’s personal site, the Swedish developer explained his change of heart, saying that he wants to work with games, not social media. “I definitely want to be a part of VR, but I will not work with Facebook. Their motives are too unclear and shifting, and they haven’t historically been a stable platform. There’s nothing about their history that makes me trust them, and that makes them seem creepy to me.”
As one of Oculus’ first major investors, Notch also expressed disappointment in having spent “ten grand to seed a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition.” He wished both companies well, but ended the post saying that “this is where we part ways.”
We’ll probably hear more about the future of Oculus VR sometime in the coming weeks.