Facebook gets thumbs-up from feds to buy virtual-reality firm Oculus

The Federal Trade Commission gives its stamp of approval to the $2 billion deal, according to Reuters, as Facebook readies for "the platforms of tomorrow."

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The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset Oculus VR

Facebook has gotten the OK from US antitrust officials to move forward with its purchase of Oculus VR, maker of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.

The deal was apparently on a list, spotted by Reuters, of other proposed transactions that scored approval from the US Justice Department and the FTC.

Currently available just to developers, the Oculus Rift headset immerses users in a 3D virtual reality environment for playing games and navigating through virtual worlds.

Last month, Facebook announced its intention to buy Oculus VR for $400 million in cash and 23.1 million in Facebook shares valued at $1.6 billion. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg trumpeted the deal as paving the way for a new type of social network.

"Mobile is the platform of today, and now we're also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow," Zuckerberg said in a statement. "Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play, and communicate."

But not everyone is happy about Facebook acquiring Oculus VR.

Following the announcement in March, video game developer Markus Persson vowed to cancel the Oculus Rift edition of Minecraft, saying in a tweet that "Facebook creeps me out." Some current users of Oculus Rift also thumbed their noses at the deal.

In a March 25 blog post, the The Oculus Rift team acknowledged that the reasons behind a partnership between Facebook and Oculus might not seem obvious. But the team said the deal opens new doors for its work with virtual reality.

"This partnership is one of the most important moments for virtual reality: it gives us the best shot at truly changing the world," the Oculus Rift team said. "It opens doors to new opportunities and partnerships, reduces risk on the manufacturing and work capital side, allows us to publish more made-for-VR content, and lets us focus on what we do best: solving hard engineering challenges and delivering the future of VR."

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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