The Valley was yet again speechless when Facebook announced the Oculus Rift acquisition yesterday. Why Facebook, why gaming, why this, questions flew in all directions and people took to social media expressing their disbelief and concern. 'Bubble' was thrown around. 'There goes that Snapchat money' was also mentioned. But what does this Oculus Rift acquisition really mean for Facebook?
Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset and they've supposedly had phenomenal success in building something that gives the user a truly immersive experience. Current use case = games. Potential future use case? Immeasurable. As Zuck said in his post, the device could be used in any situation that would have traditionally required an in person experience. Be that sporting events, doctor's office visits, heck, even dates.
Facebook has built an empire around a social network. With Oculus Rift Facebook can begin experimenting with virtual social experiences. People can go from posting on walls and having Facebook message threads to donning this headset and having an entirely immersive, intimate, social experience. 'Sharing' a post could suddenly shift to actually sharing a moment.
So while people threw fits and pounded their fists, I think that this has the potential to be a very strategic acquisition for Facebook. Having access to the mothership's bank will certainly help a hardware company develop and scale, but it remains to be seen whether Oculus Rift can maintain their startup agility and keep building an amazing product within a large corporate setting.