Facebook’s large-scale retail therapy continues as the social network has agreed to pay $2 billion in cash and stock for a fledgling virtual reality company, Oculus VR. Facebook presumably noticed Oculus by the register while its WhatsApp purchase was being rung up and found the requisite $2 billion crumpled up in the back pocket of its jeans.
Oculus hasn’t released any commercial products yet, but its Rift VR headset has been the subject of ever-increasing buzz since Oculus launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund further development in 2012. The Oculus gear was expected to be the best-in-class VR kit, at least until Sony executives revealed last week that they will have their own futuristic-looking goggles that could be on par with the Rift.
Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook CEO, explained the surprising purchase by noting that VR could grow into “a new communication platform,” the same way regular folk might rationalize the acquisition of a king-size Butterfinger bar by noting that it offers exciting new nutritional opportunities. And Oculus executives released a statement in which they observed that the person who just gave them $2 billion is an ingenious visionary. [via Kotaku]