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Oculus CEO: Next Rift prototype 'coming soon'

Brendan Iribe, chief of the virtual reality company, reiterates that Facebook's $2 billion takeover will preserve Oculus' independence and help it get bigger, faster.

Joan E. Solsman Former Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
Expertise Streaming video, film, television and music; virtual, augmented and mixed reality; deep fakes and synthetic media; content moderation and misinformation online Credentials
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Joan E. Solsman
2 min read

Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe (left). Joan E. Solsman/CNET

NEW YORK -- Oculus Chief Executive Brendan Iribe said the new prototype of the virtual reality company's Rift headset is "coming soon," adding that Facebook should help quicken that development process in the future.

Much of the process of deciding whether to join Facebook "centered around being able to leverage their cash and investment into hardware R&D, which is expensive," Iribe said, speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt here. With Facebook, Oculus will be pursuing its original vision, but "doing it even bigger, faster."

In March, Facebook said it would buy the virtual reality technology company for about $2 billion in cash and stock. It was software-oriented Facebook's first major consumer-facing hardware play, and though the price tag paled in comparison to the $19 billion WhatsApp takeover that came shortly before, it's double the $1 billion Facebook paid for photo-sharing app Instagram.

Monday, Iribe said Oculus would be preserving its independence and culture through the Facebook merger, which has yet to close, and would be taking advantage of vast resources the giant new parent could provide in hardware investment dollars, payment systems, and a network of more than a billion potential users.

"We have to see how the integration goes, but preserving Oculus was really important," Iribe said, adding Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Oculus it can use any part of Facebook or none.

The 18-month-old Oculus has been one of the most high-profile players in an emerging virtual-reality industry, starting out on Kickstarter and becoming a favorite with developers attracted to its open-source transparency and desire for feedback from the developer community.

Iribe said that intimacy with developers wouldn't suffer because of Facebook either. "For game developers, they'll have more success shipping their content into a platform that has a billion users rather than a hundred million," he said.

Facebook shares were recently up 61 cents, or 1 percent, at $61.07.