Facebook (FB) announced on Tuesday that it had reached a $2 billion agreement to buy Oculus VR, the maker a virtual reality gaming headset called Oculus Rift.
The deal, which is a bet from the social network giant to turn social networking into an immersive, 3-D experience, calls for $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock worth about $1.6 billion. In addition, the transaction includes a $300 million earn-out in cash and stock.
According to a statement from CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the company plans to expand the fledgling start-up in virtual-reality technology beyond gaming:
“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.”
Zuckerberg also said he views Oculus “as a software and services thing, a network where people can communicate and buy things,” adding that “[t]hat’ll be where the business will come from.”
The acquisition is one of several bets that Facebook is making in its effort to consolidate its dominance of social communication. Last month, the company announced it would buy messaging giant WhatsApp for $16 billion plus as much as $3 billion in future payouts.
Facebook shares are up 61 cents, or 1%, at $65.60 in pre-market trading Wednesday.