Gaming on Facebook might be seen as largely a phenomenon of the recent past, but the social media giant just made a huge move toward securing a place in the industry’s future.
As announced by the company and confirmed by head honcho Mark Zuckerberg himself (on Facebook, naturally), Facebook has reached an agreement to purchase Oculus VR, the developer of the Oculus Rift virtual reality technology. The acquisition agreement is for approximately $2 billion, which includes cash and shares of Facebook common stock.
In his post, Zuckerberg admits that while Facebook can still do more to build up its mobile presence, it also wants to look ahead to what platforms might be next. It’s clear he shares the same high hopes for the potential of the Oculus Rift, which has been getting rave reviews from people who have tested its most recent prototypes.
While gamers might be worried about Zuckerberg’s mentions of the Rift’s various uses in different areas of daily life, he does say that games will be the primary focus to start.
"Immersive gaming will be the first, and Oculus already has big plans here that won’t be changing and we hope to accelerate. The Rift is highly anticipated by the gaming community, and there’s a lot of interest from developers in building for this platform. We’re going to focus on helping Oculus build out their product and develop partnerships to support more games."
Also encouraging: the declaration that Oculus will operate independently within Facebook (at least to start, as these things sometimes tend to change over time). Oculus will remain in its current location in Irvine, California.
The acquisition is expected to become official in the second quarter of 2014, which should give the gaming industry plenty of time to absorb its ramifications. One thing’s for certain: Facebook just got a lot more relevant to members of the larger gaming community who don’t normally pay it too much attention.