A discussion on how Project Morpheus benefits from Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus VR.
I totally did not expect or plan today to be an Oculus Rift themed day for Gamemoir. This is probably because the public found out that Facebook bought Oculus VR, the company behind the Oculus Rift. In addition, one of our writers decided early on that he wanted to write about virtual reality since the news about Sony’s announcement of Project Morpheus, their own VR device, is still fresh inside everyone’s minds.
Let’s rewind to yesterday evening when news broke out about Facebook’s move to buy Oculus VR. I think it’s fair to say that people were surprised by this move. Virtual Reality technology isn’t exclusive to the video game industry, but it didn’t occur to anyone that a company like Facebook would be interested in a VR company focused on video games.
In a recent statement from Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO attempted to assuage the fears of gamers by reassuring that they will help develop the product as it was intended to be. However, the statement echoed a message that does not focus entirely on gaming. Facebook will be using the Oculus’ VR technology for a variety of other uses. Immersive video games is simply the first step.
While Zuckerberg claims that Oculus VR will continue to work independently within his company, I highly doubt that they are letting gaming remain its primary focus. Based on their previous acquisitions, it can be assumed that Facebook buys companies to strengthen their social media behemoth instead of competing in an entirely different arena. Microsoft and Sony aren’t on their sights anymore. I do believe that they will focus on video games during the initial years of its release as a PR move to satisfy the Oculus Rift’s early backers. Afterwards, expect it to shift its focus on improving the Facebook experience or towards competing Google Glass.
What does this mean for Project Morpheus? I think that this clears the way for Sony to dominate the VR realm within gaming provided that they create a competent device at the very least. Video game consoles are an expensive business. Microsoft and Sony report losses on their gaming divisions. However, they are big enough to handle them. Facebook is indeed a prominent company, but it is not in the league of the other two. Therefore, I believe that the gaming aspect they are going to focus on would largely be tailored to their mainstream audiences in the long run.
Some writers say that Facebook can give the Oculus an array of awesome features in addition to gaming. This is argued to give them the edge over Project Morpheus. I believe that this is true and that the Oculus has the potential to appeal to the average consumer. However, this is the same reason why Project Morpheus can flourish as I have mentioned before. The PlayStation 4 has a lot of social media features and non-gaming applications to supplement the gaming experience. I don’t doubt that they can do the same for Project Morpheus.
Sony can own the VR scene in gaming. If they do this right and effectively beats Microsoft, they will win the hearts of gamers. I do believe that Project Morpheus will be focused on video games since it is under the PlayStation banner. The trade off of focusing on the gaming market might cost Sony extra profitability by limiting their reach. However, perhaps the profit that they can potentially reap from Project Morpheus is enough for the company.
Who knows? Maybe I’m wrong and Mark Zuckerberg decides that he wants a large chunk of the video game industry too. We’ll never know, but this where I think it is headed. How about you?