PLEDGE NOW
Facebook’s Virtual Reality Play: Oculus

Facebook buys Oculus VR for two billion dollars and makes a big bet on virtual reality.

In this Jan. 7, 2014 file photo, show attendees play a video game wearing Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets at the Intel booth at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Facebook purchased the startup company for an estimated $2 billion this March. (AP)

In this Jan. 7, 2014 file photo, show attendees play a video game wearing Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets at the Intel booth at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Facebook purchased the startup company for an estimated $2 billion this March. (AP)

Strap on the Oculus Rift and you’re in another world.  A big headset – goggles – covering your eyes.  A huge spread of virtual reality filling your field of vision.  Another world.  Less than two years ago, Oculus was a Kickstarter campaign and a dream.  This week, Facebook announced it will buy Oculus for $2 billion.  Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg says virtual reality is key to social media’s future.  Virtual presence.  Hanging out with people who aren’t actually with you.  You might think Facebook is a virtual reality already.  This hour On Point:   Facebook’s virtual reality play with Oculus.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Eric Limer, writer and editor for the technology blog, Gizmodo. (@ericlimer)

Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab. Author of “Infinite Reality: Avatars, Eternal Life, New Worlds and the Dawn of the Virtual Revolution.” (@StanfordVR)

James McQuivey, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research. (@jmcquivey)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Wall Street Journal: Facebook to Buy Virtual Reality Firm Oculus for $2 Billion — “Like Facebook’s $19 billion purchase last month of text-messaging service WhatsApp, the deal is part of the social-networking company’s vast ambition to connect people across all kinds of devices and modes of communication. The deal also highlights the intense competition among big technology companies for promising startups, even when those startups, like Oculus and WhatsApp, have little revenue.”

TechCrunch: A Brief History of Oculus — “To write the words ‘A Brief History Of Oculus’ is a bit funny — because really, the company’s very existence has been brief. From the launch of their Kickstarter campaign to their massive acquisition, just 601 days had passed. The company has definitely generated its fair share of buzz in its short lifespan — and yet, many, many people are hearing about the team for the very first time this week.”

Gizmodo: Facebook Is Buying Oculus VR, The Incredible Future of Virtual Reality –“Facebook’s plans for the totally rad VR headset aren’t immediately apparent, and the social media giant’s announcement of the acquisition does little to clear it up, citing the possibility of using the totally righteous future headset for things like communication and education along with more obvious things like entertainment. ”

King Digital Entertainment And One-Hit Wonders

James Surowiecki, staff writer for the New Yorker, where he writes the Financial Page.

The New Yorker: One Hit Wonders — “Development costs in the game-app world are very low. Angry Birds was made for just a hundred and forty thousand dollars, and Candy Crush was created by a team of fewer than ten people. Established companies have some advantage when it comes to marketing power, but hits can come from anywhere. Flappy Bird, a game that was recently downloaded fifty million times in a couple of weeks, was created in a matter of days by a single designer. “

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Feb 5, 2016
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas mingles at a campaign event at Robie's Country Store, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Hooksett, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Ted Cruz, Clinton and Sanders out of Iowa. Zika panic. Syrian peace talks fall apart. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Feb 5, 2016
A portion of the cover of Ben Ratliff's new book, "Every Song Ever." (Courtesy Farar, Straus and Giroux / The Publisher)

How to choose music in an age when everything is online and always there. New York Times music critic Ben Ratliff shows the way.

RECENT
SHOWS
Feb 4, 2016
Richard Dreyfuss as financier and Ponzi-schemer Bernie Madoff in a scene from the ABC mini-series “Madoff,."Eva Kaminsky/ABC)

Actor Richard Dreyfuss joins us on his new role as Ponzi scheme villain Bernie Madoff and a career of being Dreyfuss.

 
Feb 4, 2016
Although technological development appears to have rapidly increased in the last fifty years, the gap between the invention of the incandescent light bulb and the Apple iPhone was not as dramatically innovative as it might have been. (WikiCommons / Associated Press)

Is the golden age of American growth and innovation over? Gone for good? Big economist Robert Gordon says so. We’ll listen, and challenge.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Notes From New Hampshire, #4: Donald Trump — You Heard It First!
Friday, Feb 5, 2016

Jack Beatty recounts an evening rally with Republican Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, and wonders if the billionaire businessman is really looking for an exit.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: February 5, 2016
Friday, Feb 5, 2016

Spread the word — we FINALLY have both a new website (in beta) and a new newsletter. Sign up, visit and see what’s happening in the On Point digital universe.

More »
Comment
 
Notes From New Hampshire, #3: Jeb Bush — Cry for Me, America!
Thursday, Feb 4, 2016

Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R) asked a New Hampshire audience to clap for him — and our own Jack Beatty was there to hear it.

More »
Comment