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Facebook takes $2 billion dive into virtual reality

SAN FRANCISCO - Facebook on Tuesday announced a $2-billion deal to buy a startup behind virtual reality headgear that promises to let people truly dive into their friends' lives.

Facebook co-founder and chief Mark Zuckerberg said that the acquisition of Oculus was a long-term bet that making the social network’s offerings more immersive would pay off.

"People will build a model of a place far away and you will just go see it; it is just like teleporting," Zuckerberg said.

"I do think gaming is a start," he said in a conference call, referring to the Oculus headset’s original design focus.

Zuckerberg billed the acquisition as part of a drive to build the "next major computing platform that will come after mobile."

For now, Facebook will use its resources to make Oculus headgear affordable and ubiquitous, according to Zuckerberg.

The California-based social network does not intend to become a hardware company, but Zuckerberg said it is open to people using virtual reality devices for immersive shopping experiences at Facebook.

Facebook plans to build on Oculus technology for areas such as communications, education, and entertainment.

Oculus shareholders will receive $400 million in cash and 23.1 million Facebook shares in the deal.

Facebook called Oculus, launched in 2012, the leader in immersive virtual reality technology with a strong following among developers.

The company has already garnered more than 75,000 orders for the $350 Oculus Rift headset development kits.

AFP


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