Oculus Rift announced on Tuesday that it has acquired Carbon Design, the team behind the popular Xbox 360 controller and the original Kinect. Oculus does not provide any financial details regarding the purchase, but does state that the deal is expected to close by the end of the summer.
According to Oculus VR, the Carbon Design team will officially become a key component of the product engineering group. Carbon will be working out of its studio in the Seattle area, and will also work closely with the research and development arm of Oculus VR in the Redmond area.
"A few seconds with the latest Oculus prototypes and you know that virtual reality is for real this time," writes Peter Bristol, Creative Director at Carbon Design. "From a design and engineering perspective, building the products that finally deliver consumer virtual reality is one of the most interesting and challenging problem sets ever."
"This is an entirely open product category. With consumer VR at its inception, the physical architectures are still unknown,” he adds. “We’re on the cutting edge of defining how virtual reality looks, feels, and functions."
The blog also states that Oculus VR has been working with Carbon for almost a year on multiple unannounced projects. Could one of these projects be an Oculus Rift certified controller? That’s a possibility, but so far the only announced product is the Oculus Rift VR headset, which will hit the market whenever it’s finally done.
News of the acquisition follows Oculus VR’s agreement to be purchased by Facebook back in March. Although the deal looks weird from the outside, the Oculus team stated that Facebook understands the potential of VR, that the deal is one of the most important moments for virtual reality… a $2 billion moment.
"It gives us the best shot at truly changing the world. It opens doors to new opportunities and partnerships, reduces risk on the manufacturing and work capital side, allows us to publish more made-for-VR content, and lets us focus on what we do best: solving hard engineering challenges and delivering the future of VR," the company’s blog stated.
Meanwhile Chief Executive Officer Brendan Iribe recently spoke with Bloomberg about seeking out partners to help make the Oculus Rift hardware. He said that the expansion will be modeled after Google’s Android platform, meaning Oculus VR has no intentions of selling 1 billion Rifts by itself.
"We are openly talking to any kind of partner that wants to jump into VR, and there’s a lot of interest right now," he said.
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I don't understand why it looks like a losing project? Oculus looks like a great project, they seem determined to release a highly polished product for the consumer and hopefully will set a high bar for VR.
Because they are starting to over-invest into a project that is after all only gaming goggles, potentially a niche product. They've hired some high caliber people that are usually quite expensive. Oculus also have a very strong competitor, Sony, who can and will address their own PS market, but also PC as well. Sony has in house LCD, chip and optics production, etc.