There’s no doubting the fact that virtual reality headsets are exciting and that the Oculus Rift is at the front of the pack in the VR space — despite the headlines Sony (SNE) recently received with its Project Morpheus VR headset for the Playstation 4.
If you’re going to buy your way into VR, then Oculus VR is it. The news that Facebook (FB) was the company that pulled the trigger and bought Oculus VR caught me off-guard. Like many industry watchers, I would have pegged Microsoft (MSFT) to be the most likely suitor. It has the cash, and with Sony’s VR move on the PS4, MSFT could use a response for the Xbox One.
Even Valve would make sense — it’s the company that helped develop the Oculus Rift prototype, after all. And it has a vested interest in making its Steam Machine PC gaming in the living room platform initiative more attractive to console gamers.
Commercial virtual reality headsets have been firmly focused on the video game industry. The Oculus Rift headset, in particular, has made its name with mind-blowing VR-enabled video game demos.
Does Facebook expect that its users will don Oculus Rift VR headsets for an even more immersive personal sharing of their family photos, Likes and favorite Internet memes? Given the difficulty Google (GOOG) has had in gaining public acceptance of its Glass augmented eyewear, I can’t imagine FB is going to have much luck convincing people to don headgear the size of a scuba mask.
So why did FB buy Oculus VR? Here are three possible reasons: