Facebook purchased virtual reality hardware company Oculus for $2 billion this week. Kickstarter-born Oculus produces virtual reality headsets for gaming. Facebook plans to extend device capabilities to 3D real life experiences like watching a game with friends remotely, looking at an architecture model build elsewhere, or sharing vacation experiences. An Oculus board member said the company will have an autonomous presence as Instagram did after the acquisition, but sources say Facebook plans to make over the handset to have a Facebook logo.
Mark Zuckerberg said people spend 40% of their time on computers gaming, and 40% on social communication. He also compared Oculus’ future capabilities as close to teleportation.
Analysts expressed their surprise at Facebook’s purchase of a hardware company, and few believe virtual reality can be useful beyond gaming. But Oculus’ benefit to Facebook could be in delivering images in a compelling format as Instagram did. The Oculus experience will be different from Instagram; one is about a quick look at snaps at intervals during the day and the other is likely to be a more immersing experience. But both have in common what successful platforms do, a focus on visuals.
To learn more about how visuals made Instagram the world’s most powerful platform, download an excerpt of L2’s Intelligence Report: Instagram.