By Alex Dip
The Oculus Rift, a virtual reality head-mounted display considered an upcoming craze, announced on March 25 that Facebook had bought the company for two billion dollars. This is a shocking revelation as the Oculus Rift is primarily marketed towards the demographic of gamers, compared to Facebook’s usage of social media and that Facebook purchased other companies like Instagram and Whatsapp for higher amounts.
The Oculus Rift, a community funded project, was started by Palmer Luckey, who created a Kickstarter campaign which was funded by numerous individuals who wanted to immerse themselves into a world which was unlike any other.
Kickstarter is a website in which users can present project ideas for their product, in which consumers will read in order to be persuaded to fund their project. The Oculus Rift was a success in its kickstarter, having over 10,000 donations raising more than $2 million.
Anybody who pledged over $300 was sent a development kit of the product. It was available for testing in August 2012. The second development kit is ready to be preordered on the Oculus website for $350. A consumer product is presumed to be in development at a cheaper price compared to the development kits.
The Oculus Rift allows users to view a game or video in first person point-of-view by equipping a head-mounted display that covers your line of vision. The user monitors their actions with the display and can control the game they are playing in different ways such as running around a battlefield, wielding a rifle and shooting down enemies. Users can also navigate with traditional controls, like a joystick. Numerous games have been tested and adapted to run with the Oculus Rift. However, latency problems plague games, which the company is trying to fix.
“This is a dream for gamers, especially those who play Call of Duty all the time,” said senior Alan Ngo. “Maybe we’ll be able to get some exercise instead of sitting around all day”.
The current question is what Facebook plans on doing with the the Oculus Rift. People wonder whether Facebook will change the Oculus Rift to become another one of their social media services or stick to the concept of gaming. Some are outraged by Facebook’s acquisition as the Oculus may not genuinely be to their liking with additions from Facebook .
Will people have the mental fortitude to withstand the experience provided by the Oculus Rift? “I’m probably going to get motion sickness using this in the future,” said Ngo.