Facebook announced Tuesday that it would blow through another $2 billion in cash and common stock to acquire start-up Oculus, makers of Oculus Rift head-mounted virtual reality display. In a Facebook post today, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, "The incredible thing about the technology is that you feel like you're actually present in another place with other people."
As for what Zuckerberg plans to do with the technology, after the obvious application of video games, Facebook and Oculus will be building "a new communications platform." Cue wide-eyed futurism:
Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face -- just by putting on goggles in your home.
This is really a new communication 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. [...]
Virtual reality was once the dream of science fiction. But the internet was also once a dream, and so were computers and smartphones. The future is coming and we have a chance to build it together. I can't wait to start working with the whole team at Oculus to bring this future to the world, and to unlock new worlds for all of us.
Oculus CEO and co-founder Brendan Iribe echoed the magical thinking, saying in a statement, "We believe virtual reality will be heavily defined by social experiences that connect people in magical, new ways."
The deal is for $400 million in cash and another $1.6 billion worth of Facebook common stock. Last month, Facebook announced it would acquire messaging service WhatsApp for $19 billion in cash and stock.
As an experiment in what Oculus can do outside of video games, BeAnotherLabs created this Gender Swap project, which allowed users to sort of swap genders for a few minutes (video NSFW-ish):