In news completely out of left field, Facebook has announced plans to acquire Oculus VR, maker of virtual reality headset Oculus Rift, for $2 billion.
The deal is comprised of $400 million in cash, including 23.1 million shares of Facebook stock worth approximately $1.6 billion.
Oculus has helped lead a resurgence in virtual reality, and to date has received over 75,000 orders from developers around the globe.
While the Oculus Rift is still undergoing development, Facebook says it “plans to extend Oculus’ existing advantage in gaming to new verticals.”
The new verticals will include media, entertainment, communications and education.
“Mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow. Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate.”
Development of the Oculus Rift will continue with its parent residing in Irvine, CA, and the deal is expected to close in Q2 2014.
CEO Brendan Iribe says the company is excited to work with Facebook, and gave a hint as to why the acquisition took place:
“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.”
Reddit user threewolfmtn may have helped predict the acquisition back in January, posting “So no way to confirm this, but my friend works in the same building as Oculus, and he ran into Mark Zuckerberg taking the elevator to Oculus’ floor.”
[Photo credit: Sergey Galyonkin]