Facebook bets on virtual reality with Oculus purchase

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Facebook bets on virtual reality with Oculus purchase

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Facebook is buying Oculus, which makes virtual-reality glasses for video gaming.

The price for the two-year-old company is $2 billion (1.5 billion euros).

The social networking company’s first-ever hardware acquisition is, according to Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, “a long-term bet that immersive, virtual and augmented reality will become a part of people’s daily life”.

It is Facebook’s first foray into wearable devices, a fast-growing area where Google is already testing internet connected glasses.

Zuckerberg said Facebook was not interested in becoming a hardware company and did not intend to try to make a profit from sales of the devices over the long term.

Instead, he said Facebook’s software and services would continue to be its underlying business.

It plans to generate revenue on Oculus devices through things like advertising and sales of virtual goods.

While Oculus will operate as an independent company, Zuckerberg stressed that Facebook’s plans for Oculus extended well beyond games.

“Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face – just by putting on goggles in your home,” he said.

In addition to game makers, Oculus has garnered some interest from developers keen on creating apps in areas like architecture, automobiles, marketing and education, the company has said.