Mark Zuckerberg. (Photo by Robert Scoble via Flickr.)
Mark Zuckerberg. (Photo by Robert Scoble via Flickr.)

The jaw-dropper of the day in the tech industry, you’ve probably heard, was Facebook’s announcement that it will spend $2 billion to acquire Oculus, the maker of the virtual-reality headset Oculus Rift.

dk2-productYes, no joke, and it was interesting to listen to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg talk about why the social network decided to bring Oculus into the fold. The deal might seem nuts, but it’s a reminder that Facebook, with 1.2 billion users, believes it’s only getting started.

Facebook thinks virtual reality will be a big part of our lives someday, and it wants to be at the center of that future world.

But what about the competition? Zuckerberg made it clear that he’s not exactly worried about the likes of the PlayStation or Xbox. Here’s what he said on the conference call.

What we’ve seen is the Oculous product that they have now is way ahead of anything else that’s out there. Sony, I think, has demo’d something very early. Microsoft hasn’t even gotten to the point where they have anything to demo yet. Not only that but the team is way ahead in terms of just having so many talented people at Oculus, that we feel good about that.

In order to build a really big computing platform, there are a bunch of important use cases that you need to support. … We’ve measured this more with mobile, but what we see is that about 40 percent of the time that people spend overall is in gaming. And about 40 percent is also spent in social communications. About half of that is in Facebook, which is nice.

What we basically believe is that unlike the Microsoft or Sony pure console strategies, if you want to make this a real computing platform, you need to fuse both of those things together.

Zuckerburg said the idea is to “transcend the traditional console opportunity to really make it more of a ubiquitous computing platform.” He added, “I think these two companies are really the only ones that are set up to have that happen.”

The Facebook CEO was correct in noting that Microsoft has been rumored to be making its own virtual-reality technology, but hasn’t yet shown anything publicly. Just imagine the conversations inside Xbox HQ today.

Also seeWhy did Facebook buy Oculus? To keep itself from missing the next big thing

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  • REP

    So basically he’s saying let’s create a system w/ 40% Oculus and 40% Facebook….fuck no!!!

  • balls187

    > Just imagine the conversations inside Xbox HQ today.

    “TitanFall is down again. Yay Cloud!”

  • mildmanneredjanitor

    “A fool and his money…”
    Facebook already feels like a virtual world sometimes. Certainly it contains many virtual “friends”.

  • Mike

    He sure likes to spend his investors money.

  • VinTanToo

    Sounds like a very good plan to me dude, I like it.

  • Adam Check

    The most significant development here is that Facebook is moving into the realm of “things” instead of just software. Huge power move towards the giants like Google and Microsoft.

    • Abram Carroll

      Yep, Google is a defence contractor now.

  • MediaMentions

    far as shopping sprees go, I’m having a hard time following the numbers. So ok,
    Facebook can afford it but from Whatsapp onwards, it seems to me that the
    company has lost focus in any core business and is just a kid getting a bunch
    of really cool stuff. Additionally, the backlash, especially from Kickstarter
    and.. ha, Minecraft fans may just be a death sentence for the company. Anyway,
    here’s what’s in from today’s press – – good stuff
    from different points of view.

    • Abram Carroll

      What do autonomous war robots have to do with internet search engines? Ask Google, as they are also a defence contractor.
      Companies diversify rather than betting only on one thing.

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