Facebook acquires virtual reality start-up Oculus for $2bn

Zuckerberg’s official purchase to “accelerate” development of Oculus Rift headsets

Following an earlier announcement this year, social media giant Facebook has now officially acquired virtual reality “pioneer” Oculus in a $2bn deal.

The purchase, the plans of which were unveiled by Mark Zuckerberg in March, has now passed the California Department of Corporations fairness hearing and will go into effect.

The exact purchase price totals at $2,001,985,000, split into $400m in cash and roughly $1.6bn in stock. The $1.6bn stock is based on a $69.35 average share price from the 20 days preceding March 21 when the deal was initially announced.

An additional $300m in cash and stock will be made available to Oculus if it hits certain targets.

US-based Oculus is the first company of its kind in the world to have developed a viable virtual reality device; the Oculus Rift headset, which is equipped with stereoscopic screens to deliver an immersive 3D experience and gyroscopes to track head movement – allowing for seamless immersion in games.

The acquisition will see the virtual reality start-up maintain its headquarters in America’s Irvine and Los Angeles areas, and it will remain operating independently to drive the development of its gaming headsets.

The deal marks an accurate prediction made by Startups in December 2013 that virtual reality technology, specifically the Oculus Rift, would be a tech trend that would disrupt business in 2014 after it had secured a major vote of confidence to the tune of $75m investment last year.

The acquisition also shines a light on the opportunities for games developers to capitalise upon this trend; with 2014 marking the perfect time for developers to look at creating a Rift launch title.

Outlining the acquisition in a statement published on his Facebook account in March, Zuckerberg said:

“Our mission is to make the world more open and connected. For the past few years, this has mostly meant building mobile apps that help you share with the people you care about. We have a lot more to do on mobile, but at this point we feel we’re in a position where we can start focusing on what platforms will come next to enable even more useful, entertaining and personal experiences.

“This is where Oculus comes in. They build virtual reality technology, like the Oculus Rift headset. When you put it on, you enter a completely immersive computer-generated environment, like a game or a movie scene or a place far away. The incredible thing about the technology is that you feel like you’re actually present in another place with other people. People who try it say it’s different from anything they’ve ever experienced in their lives.

“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.

“I can’t wait to start working with the whole team at Oculus to bring this future to the world, and to unlock new worlds for all of us.”

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