Facebook Aquisition of Oculus – How it impacts Gaming Industry
Facebook has been on a spending spree. After trying to buy Snapchat, Facebook broke the bank and acquired WhatsApp for $19B. In their most recent acquisition, Facebook purchased virtual reality gaming company Oculus earlier this week for $2B. The move comes in a long-line of deals that show Facebook is more interested in becoming a conglomerate than a social media standout. Perhaps more importantly to the gaming industry, it shows FB is a strong believer in the long-term viability of the sector, and a signal that physical hardware and console gaming still has some considerable life left in it.
With smartphones and tablets becoming so popular, many analysts have speculated that console gaming is on the way out. Despite the successful launches of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the sheer volume of mobile gaming has caught the attention of many developers. Indeed, when a game like Clash of Clans is raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars a day in revenue, or a game like Flappy Bird starts a mobile phenomenon, it creates a buzz and attention that’s hard to ignore. Consequently, it’s led many to wonder what place traditional console gaming will have in the near-future. We have a PS4 and X1, but will we have a PS5 and X2 (?)?
Sony recently unveiled their own virtual reality device, titled Project Morpheus. While the device is just a prototype, and a version for sale is still a considerable time away, it’s clear that virtual reality gaming as a primary avenue is on the horizon. One thing is clear: physical hardware is needed to create the type of innovation and immersion to take full advantage of this new technology. Concept videos have shown how the Morpheus VR system will work in tandem with PlayStation’s existing Move controllers. These physical devices bridge the gap to the virtual environments the Morpheus headset creates. What we could be witnessing is not just an extension of console gaming, but a re-imagining of the gaming industry. Not only that, such innovating technology also has the potential to expand well-beyond gaming and impact other areas of entertainment and technology.
Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus is a sign that the tech giant is banking on virtual reality changing the world of gaming and entertainment. It should also quell any fears that console gaming enthusiasts have of their favorite platforms disappearing anytime soon.
Robert Birmingham is Editor-in-chief at flydrs.com.