Facebook's Oculus VR buy is about more than gaming
CEO Zuckerberg sees virtual reality as the next major computing platform
IDG News Service - Mark Zuckerberg has seen the future, and it's inside a virtual-reality headset.
Facebook's $2 billion deal to buy Oculus VR, announced on Tuesday, is about a lot more than gaming. The social network's founder and CEO sees virtual reality as one of -- if not the -- next major computing platform, he said, one that will be a vehicle for communication, shopping, education and more.
For sure, Oculus is focused on gaming today. The company is developing a headset, still not on sale to the public, that's designed to immerse people in the world of gaming, tricking their audio and visual senses into believing they're in another place.
Facebook will help Oculus to get its Oculus Rift gaming system to market quickly and to sign partnerships to build more games, Zuckerberg said on a conference call. But that will be just the start.
"Imagine enjoying a courtside seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world, consulting with a doctor face to face, or going shopping in a virtual store where you can explore and touch the products you're interested in, just by putting on goggles in your own home," Zuckerberg said.
He also sees virtual reality as the foundation for "a new social 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," Zuckerberg said.
He's not alone in seeing virtual reality as the future. IDC analyst Scott Strawn sees it as the next major platform after mobile, even if mass deployment is still several years away. "It's not at all surprising that Facebook is getting involved now," he said. "Google, their primary competitor, has been working on virtual-reality technology for years."
Facebook doesn't plan to make money selling VR headsets. "We're clearly not a hardware vendor," Zuckerberg said. "We're not going to try to make a profit selling the devices, long-term. We view this as a software and services thing."
It's not saying yet how exactly it plans to make money from Oculus -- the deal won't close until next quarter -- but Zuckerberg mentioned communications services, commerce and "maybe advertising" as potential revenue streams.
History shows that "whoever builds and defines" the next computing platform not only shapes the experiences it's used for but also "benefits financially and strategically," Zuckerberg said.
It won't have the market to itself. Sony is pushing its Morpheus virtual-reality platform and Microsoft is rumored to be planning moves in the space. Google's Project Tango, meanwhile, is software that developers can use to map out places in 3D using a smartphone, which could then be used for augmented and virtual-reality applications.
- Could you quit Facebook for 99 days?
- Facebook is a school yard bully that's going down
- EPIC says Facebook 'messed with people's minds,' seeks FTC sanctions
- 7 things you need to know about Facebook's mood experiment
- Facebook emotional manipulation test turns users into 'lab rats'
- Facebook tries to stop Snapchat drain with Slingshot
- TMI! Facebook moves to stop over-sharing
- Inside Facebook's brilliant plan to hog your data
- Facebook shows mobile app developers the money with new ad network
- Facebook unveils anonymous app log-ins
- Enabling devices and device management for your mobility/BYOD program In this white paper, learn how to select the right mobile devices for your organization and manage them with efficiency, flexibility and security...
- Datacenter eGuide Read on to learn what technologies are essential for high-performing data centers today, and to get a glimpse of what the data center...
- EndPoint Interactive eGuide In this eGuide, Network World, Computerworld, and CIO examine two endpoint trends - BYOD and collaboration - and offer tips and advice on...
- The Business Value of Continuous Delivery Download this whitepaper to learn more about the business value of Continuous Delivery and see why it could be a game changer for...
- On-demand webinar - 7 Keys to Service Catalog Implementation Success Watch this webinar to learn 7 crucial keys to make your service catalog a success!
- Transform Your IT Service Management Watch this webinar, to learn how EasyVista can increase IT productivity & efficiency and deliver streamlined & integrated IT Service & Asset Mgmt. All Personal Technology White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!