While Facebook’s Oculus Rift is schedule to begin shipping at the end of this month, sales of the virtual reality device likely won’t have any major impact on the company’s stock price or bottom line in the short term. With that said, the acquisition of Oculus back in 2014 has less to do with short-term hardware sales as it might have to do with a long term vision by Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg envisions a time, in the not too distant future, where instead of interacting with friends, family and co-workers via a two dimensional interface such as a smartphone, tablet or PC, users will immerse themselves in a virtual reality experience unlike anything we can imagine today.
“VR is the next platform, where anyone can create and experience anything they want,” said Zuckerberg at a Samsung event back in late February. “Pretty soon, we’re going to live in a world where everyone has the power to share and experience whole scenes as if you’re just right there in person.”
While Zuckerberg still feels that Facebook may be 5-10 years away from becoming a true platform for virtual reality interactions, the company could certainly begin to integrate VR into a number of their products from video, to games, to even chat. Imagine putting on a VR headset, logging into Facebook and within seconds seeing yourself along with four good friends sitting in the stands of your favorite March Madness game. You’d be able to enjoy the game from front row seats while interacting with your friends just as if you were at the game in real life. This is just one of the many possible applications that Facebook could eventually use their VR expertise to bring about.
One could argue that virtual reality will have a bigger impact on society than the smartphone has. That’s quite an impact and Facebook envisions themselves as being right there when the technology is adopted by the mainstream. The next decade is going to be one which transcends reality with the digital world and allows anyone, anywhere to experience things they would never have imagined possible. Facebook will be one of the companies ushering in this incredible technology, and it all started with the acquisition of Oculus.
Let us know what you think the future of VR will bring us. Discuss in the Facebook / Oculus Future VR forum on VRTalk.com.