Facebook Acquires Oculus for Around $2 Billion, Updates Lookalike Audiences

Facebook has acquired Oculus VR, the company behind the Rift headset, for around $2 billion. The deal includes $400 million in cash and $23.1 million in stock.

The Oculus Rift project was launched on Kickstarter on 1 August 2012 to revive a technology that attempted to reach the market over a decade previously. Trying to succeed where many had failed, it had a rather modest campaign goal of $250,000. Within 24 hours, Oculus VR had raised $670,000 from 2,750 people, and within three days it had hit $1m.

Why buy Oculus? Facebook’s move indicates the social media giant’s ambition to tap into what might be the next big thing in gaming, as evidenced in a statement by the company’s founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg. “Mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow,” he says. “Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play, and commute.”

As part of the deal, Facebook plans to extend Oculus’ advantage in gaming, to communications, media, and entertainment, as well as education, among others.

The purchase is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014.

The Oculus deal comes hot on the heels of another Facebook update that was announced earlier today. The social network is expanding lookalike audiences capabilities to now allow advertisers to create lookalikes based on people who visit their websites, use their mobile apps, or are connected to their Facebook Pages. Previously, advertisers could only create lookalikes based on existing information like email addresses, phone numbers and user IDs.

Now, it’s easier for advertisers to:

  • Find more people who look like their website visitors – Advertisers can use data from their Facebook pixels to reach people who are similar to those who previously made purchases on their website.
  • Find more people who look like their mobile app users – They can create lookalike audiences based on people that have used their mobile app such as people who’ve downloaded songs from their music app or have made purchases via their shopping app in the past.
  • Find more people who look like their Facebook fans – Now, advertisers can increase the number of fans connected to their Page by creating lookalike audiences based on their current fans.

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