Oculus Rift: Facebook’s $2 Billion Attempt to Seize Its Destiny From Apple and Google

Can’t say I saw this one coming.

Facebook, on the heels of its $19 billion blockbuster acquisition of WhatsApp, has dropped another $2 billion (plus a potential $300 million in earn-outs) for Oculus VR, the company that makes Rift.

If you haven’t tried the Rift, it’s extraordinary. The first time I played with it, I was awestruck by the immersive experience. It brings not just gaming, but any type of virtual interaction to a whole new dimension that no other product has ever even come close to accomplishing.

And now it all belongs to Facebook. Why?

Here’s what Zuckerberg said in the press release:

“Mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow. Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate.”

Translated: Facebook sees Oculus as one of the next great platforms for the future. Right now, it doesn’t control a platform. Its content has to go through Google (Android, Chromebook), Apple (iOS, Mac) and Microsoft (PC). It’s friendly with the latter and not-so-friendly with the former.

If Facebook can turn Oculus’s technology into a true platform — not just for gaming, but for everyday interaction — then it’ll be the best $2 billion it has ever spent.

Facebook doesn’t want to be held down by Google or Apple. Acquiring the platforms of the future is the best way for Facebook to control its own destiny.