Oculus Bought by Facebook: What does it mean for VR?
So if you have been following VR development I'm sure you've heard by now of Facebook buying Oculus outright for $2 Billion in cash and stock. I've been getting asked this question a lot so I'll try to summarize my thoughts.
First, it puts Virtual Reality on a new stage because Facebook isn't a gaming company and is committed to low cost hardware to the widest amount of people. Oculus now has the cash and backing to manufacture low cost headsets on a large scale, and Facebook doesn't have to make money selling hardware, they're a distribution platform. People are realizing that there are other uses for the VR tech aside from gaming.
Second, it bolsters Sony's position. Sony has been working hard to appeal to independent developers over the last few years and is in a great position to attract developers unhappy about Facebook's involvement. Every company has their own investment already on the table and Sony already has the hardware, integrated motion tracking, distribution and development networks and content. Suddenly they went from being the non-indie VR solution to cornering the indie VR market.
Third, now that the market has some valuation, expect other companies to get into the mix. Headset technology is mostly tablet hardware so watch for existing brands to come out with their own VR headsets. Also Valve has been a sleeper but already has the R&D, the distribution network (with Steam), the user base and is very independent so probably isn't very excited about Facebook's involvement. I think the more companies developing VR tech the better for the consumers.
I think indepentant developers concerned about facebook's involvement raise important concerns about the general state of privacy information moving into a world of VR, but thats a whole other article on its own. You should probably listen to them, they're the ones who build the software and understand how it works. Whether you like it or not however, its hard to ignore the effect of a player like Facebook stepping into the market like this in terms of mainstream & investment optics.
We've said before that people miss the point when they think of VR as a gaming peripherial. Its nothing less then the next generation of media consumption & interaction. Its the natural evolution of the computer monitor. What Facebook has really done is just speed up the process of consumer development by several years and sparked a VR tech arms race that gives the market the competition and reach it needed.