Facebook has made a surprise acquisition of virtual reality firm Oculus for $2 billion.
The social network’s CEO Mark Zuckberger said the company was "getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow" and believes virtual reality could "create the most social platform ever".
The acquisition is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2014. Oculus will remain in its current California headquarters
“Mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow,” said Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
“Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate.”
Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe added: “We are excited to work with Mark and the Facebook team to deliver the very best virtual reality platform in the world. We believe virtual reality will be heavily defined by social experiences that connect people in magical, new ways. It is a transformative and disruptive technology, that enables the world to experience the impossible, and it’s only just the beginning.”
The deal includes $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock, valued at $1.6 billion.
A further $300m could change hands dependent on the achievement of certain milestones.
Oculus first took to Kickstarter in August 2012, with its creators asking for $250,000 to help develop the Oculus Rift headset. The crowdfunding campaign ended up bringing in $2.4 million.
The tech has since received plaudits across the game industry due to its potential for gaming, with Valve working closely with Oculus on the project.
While it has been tipped to play a major role in the game industry, it is unclear how this may fit in with Facebook’s own plans for the virtual reality headset, and whether core gaming will play a central part of the social networking firm’s plans.
Oculus founder Palmer Luckey has given a response to Facebook’s acquisition, stating it is a "special moment for the game industry".