The engineering genius Palmer Luckey, a 21 year old video game fan, developed a “goggle” that he named Oculus Rift when he was still in high school. Oculus Lift is a head-mounted “goggle” with VR displays, you put it on and you feel like you’re inside the game, rather than looking at it on a screen, said Luckey.
Palmer started the company in 2012 at the age of 21 with Brendan Iribe, Michael Antonov and Nate Michell. Oculus Rift VR prototype was shown at the E3 games show in the summer of 2012 and it gave them the tremendous attentions they needed.
The first prototype of the VR goggle, named Oculus Rift, came out when he was in college.
Venture capitalist who became interested in his work helped Luckey to raise over $91 million for his project, got 50 employees under him and released the early version of the device to software developers who in return showed off some really innovative applications and VR games.
Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook dived in and acquired Oculus Rift VR for $2 billion in cash and stocks. The agreement is that Luckey, his team and shareholders will receive a total of $400 million in cash and Facebook shares at a value of around $1.6 billion.
The “goggles” are primarily designed for computer games but Zuckerberg thinks they have a much broader future. People will be able to watch football games front row, sit in classrooms with other students around the world and talk to a doctor “face to face” just by putting on the goggles. The potential for this product is huge says Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg has acquired Whatsapp for $19 billion, Instagram for $1 billion and he is still on the look for up and new coming products and services that will attract users and make our lives more connected.
Can you come up with an idea that can make people around the world more connected? If you can you might be the next one Zuckerberg approaches with an offer of a billion dollars.
Read the full statement of Mark Zuckerberg:
I’m excited to announce that we’ve agreed to acquire Oculus VR, the leader in virtual reality technology.
Our mission is to make the world more open and connected. For the past few years, this has mostly meant building mobile apps that help you share with the people you care about. We have a lot more to do on mobile, but at this point we feel we’re in a position where we can start focusing on what platforms will come next to enable even more useful, entertaining and personal experiences.
This is where Oculus comes in. They build virtual reality technology, like the Oculus Rift headset. When you put it on, you enter a completely immersive computer-generated environment, like a game or a movie scene or a place far away. The incredible thing about the technology is that you feel like you’re actually present in another place with other people. People who try it say it’s different from anything they’ve ever experienced in their lives.
Oculus’s mission is to enable you to experience the impossible. Their technology opens up the possibility of completely new kinds of experiences.
Immersive gaming will be the first, and Oculus already has big plans here that won’t be changing and we hope to accelerate. The Rift is highly anticipated by the gaming community, and there’s a lot of interest from developers in building for this platform. We’re going to focus on helping Oculus build out their product and develop partnerships to support more games. Oculus will continue operating independently within Facebook to achieve this.
But this is just the start. After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. 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.
This is really a new communication platform. By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.
These are just some of the potential uses. By working with developers and partners across the industry, together we can build many more. One day, we believe this kind of immersive, augmented reality will become a part of daily life for billions of people.
Virtual reality was once the dream of science fiction. But the internet was also once a dream, and so were computers and smartphones. The future is coming and we have a chance to build it together. I can’t wait to start working with the whole team at Oculus to bring this future to the world, and to unlock new worlds for all of us.