To many people the name Oculus Rift may sound like some kind of ocean trench or moon crater, but to geeks and gamers Oculus Rift refers to a massively exciting virtual reality headset for PCs that has the potential to transform gaming as we know it. At least, that was the view that many had until yesterday, when Facebook announced it had acquired the company behind Oculus Rift for $2 billion. This move sent shockwaves of delight and panic through both the gaming and social media worlds, but once the dust has settled what can we expect to see as a result of this?
With Sony’s recently announced Project Morpheus gaining widespread support from the gaming industry and gamers themselves, virtual reality has once again become ‘the next big thing’, but unlike previous instances, this time it might be the real deal. The big game changer, however, is Facebook’s involvement. The big question is why? Why would a social media company, whose significance as a gaming platform has dwindled for many developers (most notably Zynga), invest so much money in a gaming headset? The options are endless, but one intriguing notion is that gaming is only the beginning. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, suggests as much himself:
“After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. 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”.
In an always online, interconnected world of social media and the web, just thinking about the possibilities is enough to make you dizzy. Whatever the outcome, it’s going to very exciting to watch this unfold over the next few years.