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Facebook buys Oculus VR for $2 billion

UPDATE: Notch pulls Minecraft from Oculus talks. "Their motives are too unclear."

UPDATE 26/03/2014 12.25am: Markus "Notch" Persson has further clarified his thoughts on Facebook's recent Oculus acquisition on his personal blog.

"I definitely want to be a part of VR, but I will not work with Facebook," the Minecraft creator said. "Their motives are too unclear and shifting, and they haven't historically been a stable platform. There's nothing about their history that makes me trust them, and that makes them seem creepy to me."

He further added, "I did not chip in ten grand to seed a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition."

"I have the greatest respect for the talented engineers and developers at Oculus. It's been a long time since I met a more dedicated and talented group of people. I understand this is purely a business deal, and I'd like to congratulate both Facebook and the Oculus owners. But this is where we part ways."

UPDATE 10.34pm: Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson is refusing to put Minecraft on Oculus Rift following the VR company's recent acquisition by Facebook.

"We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus. I just cancelled that deal," the famous developer tweeted. "Facebook creeps me out."

ORIGINAL STORY 10.06pm: Facebook has bought Oculus VR. I repeat, Facebook has bought Oculus VR. Wait, what does that mean?

It's a surprising move to be sure - and one that cost Facebook roughly $2 billion - but Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg has assured us that the Oculus Rift's future in third-party gaming will be unaffected by this change, so you needn't worry that it will become exclusive to Farmville or anything like that.

The Oculus Rift could be used by billions, according to Zuckerberg.

"Oculus's mission is to enable you to experience the impossible. Their technology opens up the possibility of completely new kinds of experiences," said Zuckerberg in his announcement. "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."

Phew! So what do Zuckerberg and co. want from Oculus, you ask? As it turns out, the inspiration for The Social Network explained that he's interested in utilising the Oculus for other social avenues.

"After games, we're going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences," he stated. "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," Zuckerberg added.

"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."

The Oculus acquisition cost Facebook an approximate $2 billion in cash and stock. No wonder these guys are smiling.

The Oculus team is encouraged by Facebook's plan to use Oculus VR for more than just gaming. "A few months ago, Mark, Chris, and Cory from the Facebook team came down to visit our office, see the latest demos, and discuss how we could work together to bring our vision to millions of people. As we talked more, we discovered the two teams shared an even deeper vision of creating a new platform for interaction that allows billions of people to connect in a way never before possible," the VR company said in a statement signed by creator Palmer Luckey, chief executive Brendan Iribe, and tech guru John Carmack.

"Facebook understands the potential for VR. Mark and his team share our vision for virtual reality's potential to transform the way we learn, share, play, and communicate," the Oculus VR team added. "Facebook is a company that believes that anything is possible with the right group of people, and we couldn't agree more."

"This partnership is one of the most important moments for virtual reality: it gives us the best shot at truly changing the world. 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."

Oculus concluded, "This partnership ensures that the Oculus platform is coming, and that it's going to change gaming forever."

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