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Facebook buys Oculus Rift maker for $2bn, upsets Minecraft

Virtual reality headsets to slot in with Facebook
Wed Mar 26 2014, 10:48

FACEBOOK HAS ANNOUNCED that it is buying Oculus VR, the outfit that is developing the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.

Facebook will drop $2bn, or £1.2bn, on the firm in a mix of $400m in cash and 23.1 million Facebook shares. If "certain milestones" are reached Facebook will splash out a further $300m, it said.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the investment is a bet on the future and virtual reality (VR) will fit well with social networking and other areas.

"Mobile is the platform of today, and now we're also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow," said Zuckerberg.

"Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate."

Facebook will point development toward new business opportunities like media, entertainment and education. Apparently the people at Oculus VR are glad to be welcomed to the Facebook fold.

"We are excited to work with Mark and the Facebook team to deliver the very best virtual reality platform in the world," said Brendan Iribe, co-founder and CEO of Oculus VR.

"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."

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter, however it might have opponents, like people who are not keen on Facebook, for example.

One of these is Markus Persson, otherwise known as Notch, the chap behind Minecraft.

"We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus. I just cancelled that deal," he said upon hearing of the buyout. "Facebook creeps me out."

Oculus VR, which boasts John Carmack as CTO, will remain at its present offices and will continue to develop the Oculus Rift headset. µ


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