Irvine, California-based virtual reality technology company Oculus VR has been quietly developing motion controllers – devices that allow users to manipulate, pick up and use objects in games with hand and body movements. This will complement the company’s upcoming goggles, developers say.
Oculus VR’s plunge into the motion controller realm may cause a few rifts, since more than half a dozen companies are creating their own motion-control devices to use with the Oculus headset. Investors, consumers and developers have already invested millions in designing motion-control devices, while Oculus VR has formed working relationships with software creators to work on specialized code to work with its devices.
Oculus hasn’t revealed whether it will make its motion controllers available to the public. The company hasn’t discussed a specific release date for the "Rift" headset, though some speculate the technology will be publicly available next year. Still, Oculus isn’t the first company to potentially harm its interaction with third party businesses by developing its own technology. Apple was often targeted for using well-known functionality in its own operating system that had already been made by outside software developers, which eliminated some of its third-party business.
In March, Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) acquired the company in a $2 billion deal. In April, the Federal Trade Commission officially approved Facebook's purchase of the company. CEO Mark Zuckerberg told investors Oculus would establish and ensure the social network’s presence on future media platforms. He also discussed users sharing life experiences, shopping and playing games using Oculus and virtual reality.
“Our mission is to make the world more open and connected,” Zuckerberg said in a statement March 25. “For the past few years, this has mostly meant building mobile apps that help you share with the people you care about.”
He added that the company still plans to expand on mobile, and that he also thought it was time to focus on other platforms to create “even more useful, entertaining and personal experiences.
“This is where Oculus comes in. They build virtual reality technology, like the Oculus Rift headset. Oculus helps people become immersed into computer-generated environments. The incredible thing about the technology is that you feel like you’re actually present in another place with other people,” Zuckerberg wrote. “People who try it say it’s different from anything they’ve ever experienced in their lives.”