After the huge success that the pioneer in virtual reality Oculus VR saw the time following its really successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, people started expecting great things from the company that promised to bring virtual reality to the masses. However, it was common knowledge right at that time that a company the size of Oculus VR would certainly meet heavy competition in the eyes of bigger, more experienced “players” in that department.
It’s not a coincidence that Sony went on and announced that it was working in a mysterious project called Project Morpheus, almost a year after Oculus VR came to light. And that wasn’t all; Valve and HTC started working together to create HTC Vive, even more competition for Oculus.
Palmer Luckey had probably foreseen that it would only get harder to create the perfect, user-friendly headset he always wanted without getting some help. And that’s when Mark Zuckerberg, and Facebook, came to give the “perfect” solution.
The acquisition of Oculus VR from Facebook happened out of nowhere. It was the 25th of March, 2014, when Zuckerberg himself announced the acquisition through his Facebook profile. The deal itself was a $2 billion offer for Oculus VR and Palmer Lackey to incorporate their ideas and expertise to Facebook’s big army of corporations around the world. Even so, that deal ended up being one of the biggest in the technology department, especially for a startup company like Oculus VR.
Mark Zuckerberg also talked about his intentions behind this decision, as well as his plans, to that post in Facebook. Wanting to help Oculus VR make a headset that will be easily usable by billions of people around the world, he talked about wanting to offer a new way of communicating. He almost guaranteed that they would leave Oculus VR work independently and continue their work towards becoming a great gaming gadget.
However, there were people that criticized Oculus for its sale to the infamous behemoth. Most notably, the backers from the first Kickstarter campaign, as well as the person behind Minecraft, Marcus Persson, expressed their disapproval. It still remains to be seen if either side was true, since Oculus Rift is still under-development.
Even so, the history behind that acquisition might be one concerning us for many years to come. I might sound overly dramatic when saying that the whole future of VR got decided that day, but it seems that the results of that collaboration will either mark the beginning of a new revolution in entertainment/communication, or signal the fall of what seemed like a dream coming true. Until then, we just have to wait and see what happens.