Can Facebook achieve virtual reality communication

Facebook swallows Oculus : With data glasses through virtuality

Mark Zuckerberg has announced the takeover of the virtual reality company Oculus. The founder of the social network Facebook announced on Tuesday after the market closed that it would pay the manufacturer of video glasses two billion dollars (1.45 billion euros) in cash and in shares. The California-based startup, founded in 2012, has developed the Rift video glasses, which are particularly useful for video games. The future gadget has received a lot of praise from experts, but is still in the development stage and not on the market.

Oversized ski goggles or the next big communication platform?

Is this mixture of oversized ski goggles and cutting board supposed to be the future of our communication? Admittedly, the virtual reality glasses Rift from Oculus are not beautiful and you do not imagine them to be particularly comfortable. In addition, the idea of ​​a world in which no one experiences anything in real life, but all exist only virtually, gives most normal mortals more fear than anticipation. Mark Zuckerberg cannot share such fears.

The Facebook boss said that the use of virtual reality technologies beyond the field of computer games was still in the test phase. “Mobile devices are the platform of the present; we are preparing for the platforms of the future, ”said Zuckerberg on Tuesday, explaining the purchase. Oculus has the opportunity to create a new kind of communication platform and thus "change the way we work, play and communicate," he continued.

The Rift video glasses are slated to sell for $ 350 apiece

Facebook pays 400 million in cash and 23.1 million Facebook shares to the shareholders of Oculus. Add up to $ 300 million later if certain goals are met. The company has more than 75,000 orders to date for its Rift video glasses, which are set to go on sale for $ 350 apiece. The acquisition of the short message service WhatsApp announced in February was worth a total of 19 billion dollars. The photo platform Instagram is one of Facebook's other major acquisitions.

Augmented Reality: How the physical separates from the spiritual

The development of the device and the platform behind it should also continue under the aegis of Facebook. Zuckerberg said on Facebook that there are plenty of other uses for smart glasses beyond gaming. Sports fans could secure the best seats in the stadium, virtual learning would be improved or conversations with the doctor. You feel “truly present”.

Augmented Reality technologies could change the way we live and live sustainably. In the style of a digitalized and always networked information society, one would then no longer have to travel thousands of kilometers to enjoy Times Square at night or a sunrise at the Grand Canyon. Going to the office is no longer necessary and you can also meet friends in the virtual room from your bed. According to the dystopia, our body would then no longer be an indispensable part of human identity, but an empty shell that our insides have lost to the vastness of virtual space.

Who is looking through the Oculus glasses?

It is also questionable how Facebook will interpret the issue of data protection in view of these changed rules of the game. Just think the dystopian approach to the end, that is, to the point where we no longer have to hang a big black bar on our face to jump into virtuality, but only have to put in a contact lens. At this point, anyone who really wants can see everything we see. And there would be the surveillance state- Orwell was right.

Facebook is now competing with Sony

But because we are not an internet forum but a newspaper and Mr Zuckerberg last promised to protect Facebook from the NSA, we don't want to spin this thought any further and come back to the hard facts. What is certain is that with the purchase of Oculus, after Whatsapp and Instagram, Facebook will for the first time enter the field of hardware production. One of the rivals is the Japanese electronics giant Sony with its "Project Morpheus". Playstation 4 users can use these glasses to join the virtual game world.

Oculus VR is to remain at home in Irvine, California, and thus not to move to the company headquarters from Facebook to Menlo Park. Like WhatsApp, Zuckerberg had promised the company the greatest possible independence. (with dpa / AFP / reu)

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