Not to be outdone by Google’s seeming plans for world domination, Facebook, who is still in the process of finalising its purchase of WhatsApp, has just announced a deal to buy virtual reality headgear pioneers Oculus Rift for US$2 billion.
The Oculus Rift, which started out as a Kickstarter campaign, is now the frontrunner in the race to put virtual reality into the hands of consumers. So far, there have been orders for approximately 75,000 development kits, which went on sale a week ago for US$350 each. That’s 75,000 developers all working on applications for virtual reality that extend far past simple gaming.
The news of Facebook’s latest purchase has seen some negative reactions, with a handful of developers saying they are now dropping their projects to create games and apps for the Rift, and consumers musing how Facebook’s adverts will invade the virtual space. Markus Persson, who is the maker of popular game Minecraft, has been quoted as saying: “We were in talks about maybe bringing a version to Oculus. I just cancelled that deal. Facebook creeps me out.”
Whatever Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg’s intentions are for the virtual reality headset, you can be sure that the technology landscape of the near future just became a whole lot more interesting.