My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Facebook buys Oculus Rift for US$2 billion - Facebook Social Virtual Reality Future as Smartwatches and smartglasses herald the death of the smartphone in 2015

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Facebook buys Oculus Rift for US$2 billion - Facebook Social Virtual Reality Future as Smartwatches and smartglasses herald the death of the smartphone in 2015

“Mobile is the platform of today, and now we're also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow. Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play, and communicate”

CEO and founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg on the purchase of Oculus Rift

Facebook surprised everyone when it purchased the still-fledgling Kickstarter Startup Oculus Rift makers of the Oculus Rift VR (Virtual Reality) Gaming Headgear for US$2 billion in cash and stock as stated in “Facebook to buy Oculus for $2 billion”, published March 25, 2014 2:43 PM PDT by Jennifer Van Grove, CNET News.

In the process of buying into the future, however, they may have upset a lot of backers mindful of Facebook’s Privacy Policy. The US$2 billion purchase breaks down as follows:

1.      US$400 million in cash
2.      23.1 million Shares of Facebook common stock priced at US$69.35 per stock
3.      US$300 million earn-out in cash and stock over the next few years

Technically speaking, this marks Facebook's first purchase of Hardware, as opposed to their previous and most recent purchases of Software based companies such as Instagram for US$1 billion. Clearly a rare find for the finicky purchaser that is Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who only goes big on “rare” companies according to his comments as distilled in the article “Zuckerberg: Facebook only spends big on 'rare' companies”, published March 25, 2014 6:49 PM PDT by Richard Nieva, CNET News.

Other examples abound, most notable of which was the recent purchase of WhatsApp for US$19 million in a push towards VoIP Calling over 3G/4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) as explained in my blog article entitled “WhatsApp VoIP Calling in Second Quarter of 2014 - WhatsApp kills International Calling at the Advent of Facetime-eqsue Premium Video VoIP Calling on smartphones”.

Hopefully the user base will blossom under Big Blue's stewardship as Instagram has, now up to some 200 million active users, as Facebook may have just saved Oculus Rift from decimation by the Sleeper Awakened, Sony’ Project Morpheus as reported in “Sony’s long-standing interest in virtual reality gives Project Morpheus an edge”, published March 23, 2014 By Adam Rosenberg, DigitalTrends. 

Facebook Social Virtual Reality – Google, Samsung and now Facebook in the Wearables Race

Facebook plans to extend the capabilities of the Oculus Rift beyond Video Games to communications, media, entertainment and education, upsetting the apple-cart for the typically anti-social Gamer as stated in “Facebook and Oculus join for Science Fiction Future”, published March 25, 2014 5:03 PM PDT by Jennifer Van Grove, CNET News.

According to
Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Oculus Rift VR Headset has the potential to make social interactions literally like being in the room with the persons, quote “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, consulting with a doctor face-to-face, or going shopping in a virtual store where you can touch and explore the products you're interested in just by putting on goggles in your own home.”

To them, Gaming is a home-away-from-reality and having Facebook sitting on your Face all the time playing Social Media Games such as 2048, Threes!, PopCap’s Bejeweled and iWin’s JewelQuest, King’s Candy Crush Saga and even Rovio’s Juice Cubes does not sound very appealing!

Many, especially backers who’ve ordered their US$350 second generation Oculus Rift VR Headsets are threatening to cancel their orders as noted in “Oculus backers feel betrayed, but Facebook may still be its best shot at VR domination”, published March 25, 2014 by Ryan Fleming, DigitalTrends.

After all, clearly, the only value of the Oculus Rift VR is either its patents or the fact that it has a strong following. Oculus Rift was borne of a shared donation of US$2.4 million from online backers on Kickstarter to 21-year-old Palmer Luckey back in 2012.

Facebook VR Future – Smartwatches and smartglasses herald the death of the smartphone

For the Irvine, California based company, the purchase hasn't changed much, except to make most of the employees and their founder’s into millionaires in the next few years as work continues on improving their VR headset unabated.

However, that “likeability” thanks to the organic nature of the support base for Oculus Rift may be the attention Facebook craves. Not to mention the fact that Oculus rift virtually had no chance against Sony and their Project Morpheus as reported in “Sony’s long-standing interest in virtual reality gives Project Morpheus an edge”, published March 23, 2014 By Adam Rosenberg, DigitalTrends as by being purchased, Facebook has basically given them a helping hand.

By investing in this future technology which is yet to take off, Facebook hopes to be the center of your Social Media and Social Gaming experience when people transition away from smartphones to smartwatches paired with smartglasses which will replace smartphones in the future as noted in “The Facebook Oculus aquisition: Weighting the pros and cons”, published March 26, 2014 2:48 PM PDT by Tim Stevens, CNET News..

This future is coming sooner than expected and may be as early as 2015. It’s based on my predicted developments in the PC and Gaming World that’ll translate to smartwatches and smartglasses with AR (Augmented Reality) the close step-sister of VR (Virtual Reality) as noted in my blog article entitled “Google Glass Designer Isabelle Olsson puts Leopard frames on Google Glass - Smart + Sexy = Smexy glasses Katy Perry Roar for Tablet and smartphone Extinction”.

Already, Samsung has plans to launch a Samsung Galaxy Glass concept at the IFA 2014 Technology Trade Show in Germany on Friday September 10th 2014 as reported in my blog article entitled “Samsung Galaxy Glass going public in September at IFA 2014 - Google Glass way ahead having partnered with Optometrists to offer Glass with Glasses”.

Google is also amping up Glass with a recent partnership with Luxottica to design their consumer-friendly and hopefully cheaper commercially available Google Glass, earmarked for a 2015 launch as stated in my blog article entitled “Google Glass partners with Luxottica to design Google Glasses for 2015 Launch - Google Glass now on the Path to going Mainstream with US$199 Glasses”.

At some point, Facebook will have to make their Oculus Rift product fashionable, possibly going the route of Google in partnering with an Optometrist to make Oculus Rift into a pair of ordinary, fashionable VR Glasses wearable in public. So expect to hear News of a partnership with a maker of fashionable Shades sometime before the end of the year.

I just hope they improve the Battery life of these VR or AR Wearable devices as well as the Processor and Memory, so as to make VR/AR Overlay in Real-Time a reality. At that point, the age of smartphones would have ended; AR/VR enabled wearable Tech such as smartglasses tethered to smartwatches would have begun to replace them in 2015.

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