Wow. It seems Facebook’s ambitions are growing by the day. Little more than a month after his company bought messaging app WhatsApp for $19 billion, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Tuesday that Facebook was acquiring virtual reality gaming company Oculus VR for what The Wall Street Journal reports is for $2 billion. In his announcement Zuckerberg said that virtual reality technology is going to be the next major frontier for online interaction and that Oculus VR’s Rift headset was at the forefront of virtual reality innovation.
“After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences,” Zuckerberg said. “Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home. This is really a new communication platform. By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.”
While Facebook has definitely shown itself to be an ambitious company in the past, this is potentially the most ambitious and forward-looking project it’s taken on yet. What Zuckerberg and company do with Oculus VR is going to be fascinating to watch. Of course, there is also be the possibility that Facebook is vastly overrating Oculus’s potential as an all-encompassing virtual reality platform of the future and that this acquisition will blow up in its face. Either way, it will likely be seen years from now as either a visionary triumph or the ultimate delusion of grandeur.