As of July 22, 2014, Facebook’s $2 billion acquisition of Oculus VR, a virtual reality technology company, was official. Oculus will continue to operate somewhat independently in the Irvine and Los Angeles areas as they continue to develop leading gaming products.
A joint statement from both companies: "We’re looking forward to an exciting future together, building the next computing platform and reimagining the way people communicate."
The deal was first announced in March and has raised some eyebrows. However, several companies such as gaming software company, Second Life, are confident that virtual reality is innovatory and that this partnership provides the forum to develop exciting visions of how people interact via messaging and other social experiences. Moreover, the partnership accelerates Oculus’ vision of being technology pioneers by contributing increased working capital for research and development on their most creative projects, as well as providing the opportunity to become mainstream faster.
Facebook views the technology as more than a nonessential for video games. "Immersive virtual and augmented reality will become a part of people’s everyday life,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said. “History suggests there will be more platforms to come, and whoever builds and defines these," he said, "will shape the future and reap the benefits." With all the chatter regarding how and when the social powerhouse will diverge Oculus from its gaming roots, there’s one item that seems to have gone unnoticed — Facebook has now solidified themselves as the new marketing solution by completing their existing audience-based software and measurement stack with innovative technology. We’ve seen other communication giants attempt to capitalize on this trifecta, such as Google with their app-integrated Glass technology, but have seen little traction.
For the sophisticated platform marketer, the opportunity to discover people through a different engagement model opens the door for redefining audience addressability at scale, especially as it pertains to bridging the data gap between digital and TV media. The ability to accurately measure and apply intent such as attention span or eye diversion is an even greater possibility, and, although the adoption of the technology may take some time, Facebook is taking the first step.
There will be much anticipation for what Oculus reveals as they host their Oculus Connect conference in September.