Oculus VR is officially a part of Facebook.
The social network’s $2 billion acquisition of the virtual-reality startup finally closed today, and the two companies are now one. Oculus VR will continue its work as a separate entity, but it will now also have access to Facebook’s considerable wallet. The two companies will release the consumer version of the Oculus Rift head-mounted display at some point in the next year, and they hope that will usher in the next wave of computing.
We’ve reached out to Facebook and Oculus, but they declined to comment beyond a canned, joint statement.
“We’re looking forward to an exciting future together, building the next computing platform and reimagining the way people communicate,” the two companies apparently said in unison like the twins from The Shining.
In March, Facebook announced that it was planning to buy Oculus VR. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive officer, claimed his excitement for the company and its virtual-reality technology was not just for gaming but for its potential in other market segments as well — such as a vehicle to deliver e-commerce and ads. He sees VR as the next major computing platform after PC and mobile, and he thinks this acquisition will give the social network an early entry point into that.
The Oculus Rift is currently in an early development phase. Thousands of game makers, designers, and tinkerers are using special devkit versions of the hardware that are enabling them to build experiences for the eventual consumer release.
Oculus VR came on to the scene when former id Software developer John Carmack brought one with him to the Electronic Entertainment Expo tradeshow in 2012. Excitement around its appearance at that event led to Oculus VR holding a Kickstarter to raise $250,000 for development. Nearly 10,000 backers ended up contributing more than $2.4 million.