Facebook的交易正在成为传奇。过去几个月，马克•扎克伯格刚刚斥资190亿美元收购了一款通信应用，又有报道称他正计划以6,000万美元收购一家无人机公司。3月26日，他宣布了Facebook最新的惊人之举：20亿美元收购虚拟现实头戴游戏设备Oculus Rift的制造商Oculus VR。
Facebook称，它将支付4亿美元现金，以及价值16亿美元的2,310万股Facebook普通股。此外，这笔交易包括3亿美元的盈利能力条款，实现特定目标可获得现金和股份。Oculus在众筹网站Kickstarter上开始创业，后来从星火资本（Spark Capital）、经纬创投（Matrix Partners）、创始人基金（Founders Fund）、Formation 8、BIG Ventures 和安德森•霍洛维茨（Andreessen Horowitz）获得共计9,340万美元风险投资。
那么，Facebook为什么收购Oculus？它是Facebook应对谷歌眼镜（Google Glass）的答案吗？是该社交网络为了给自己注入创新元素所进行的一次孤注一掷的尝试吗？还是Oculus VR传奇CTO约翰•卡马克的一次玩世不恭的游戏？Facebook是否希望借此填补由Zynga造成的游戏收入缺口？
Facebook's deals are becoming the stuff of legend. In the last few months alone, Mark Zuckerberg has spent $19 billion on a messaging app, and reports say he's paying $60 million for a drone company. Today he announced Facebook's latest head-scratcher: $2 billion for Oculus VR, the maker a virtual reality gaming headset called Oculus Rift.
It marks the third time Facebook has paid a billion dollars or more for a company with little to no revenue, with plans for it to operate independently. (Oculus has sold 75,000 pre-orders for development kits, which cost $350, giving it approximately $26 million in income.)
Facebook (FB) will pay $400 million in cash, with 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock valued at $1.6 billion, the company said. In addition, the deal includes a $300 million earn-out in cash and stock. Oculus got its start on Kickstarter, but went on to raise $93.4 million in venture funding from Spark Capital, Matrix Partners, Founders Fund, Formation 8, BIG Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz.
So: Why? Is Oculus Facebook's answer to Google Glass? Is it the social network's desperate attempt to inject itself with fresh innovation? Is it a cynical play for Oculus VR's legendary CTO, John Carmack? Does Facebook want to fill a Zynga-shaped hole in its games-related revenue?
According to a Facebook post from Zuckerberg, he views Oculus Rift as a communication platform. The company and its 75 employees will operate independently from Facebook and continue its path of developing a platform for virtual reality games. (This, by the way, marks the third time Facebook has veered from its acqui-hire strategy of shutting down the companies it acquires -- the other two are Instagram and WhatsApp.) But Facebook's vision for Oculus is much bigger than games:
After games, we're going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. 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.
The team at Oculus echoed Zuckerberg's sentiment in their own blog post:
At first glance, it might not seem obvious why Oculus is partnering with Facebook, a company focused on connecting people, investing in internet access for the world and pushing an open computing platform. But when you consider it more carefully, we're culturally aligned with a focus on innovating and hiring the best and brightest; we believe communication drives new platforms; we want to contribute to a more open, connected world; and we both see virtual reality as the next step.
On a conference call discussing the deal, Oculus CEO Brendan Aribe said that as company solved "a lot of the hard problems," around gaming and entertainment, the potential for a social experience through virtual reality became really obvious.
"Something fundamentally changes and you start to realize how big this could be if you can see someone else, and you can actually look at them and your brain believes they're right in front of you, not through a screen ... "You get the goosebumps. You see how big this could be, and how social it is, and the impact it could have on other industries," Aribe said.
Shares of Facebook were slightly down by 0.88% in after hours trading.
Antonio Rodriguez, an investor with Matrix Partners (and early investor in Oculus Rift), noted that Zuckerberg isn't alone in his thinking that the next major step in computing will use virtual reality. "We've had a short hop through augmented reality, with things like Google Glass," he said. "But a lot of non-gaming use cases are tethered to the smartphone."
Rodriguez added, "I would not be surprised if, in five years from now, instead of a monitor on that desk, you have a pair of Oculus Facebook googles."