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Facebook to buy virtual reality firm Oculus for $2 billion

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You may not have heard of Oculus. But if you follow technology, you've probably heard of the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset that promises to change video gaming.

On Tuesday, Facebook announced that it's acquiring the 20-month-old company for $2 billion.

"We feel we're in a position where we can start focusing on what platforms will come next to enable even more useful, entertaining and personal experiences," Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post.

Zuckerberg's reveal hinted at a future for Facebook that's much more immersive. Rather than applying a social layer on top of users' existing lives, Oculus' virtual reality technology may someday be used to create entirely new ways to interact online.

"After games, we're going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences," Zuckerberg said. "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."

For now, though, Facebook will expand on Oculus' existing focus: games.

The acquisition is the latest by Facebook after a string of recent purchases including WhatsApp, which the company snapped up for $19 billion, and two other companies the tech firm bought in January.

Related:

Oculus Rift: Hands (and feet)-on with the next step in video game tech

WATCH: Oculus founder discusses the future of gaming at CES 2014

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post, focusing on telecommunications and the Internet. Before joining the Post, he was the technology correspondent for National Journal and an associate editor at the Atlantic.
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