"We have always thought about experience as a focus of virtual reality," he says. "Certainly it can be social, but we have not thought about it as a core social experience."
That's not to say it can't work. There were questions about Facebook's acquisition of Instagram back when it offered $1 billion for the photo-sharing app (the final purchase price was $715 million) in April 2012 -and Instagram "turned out fine," Blau points out. Facebook said Tuesday that Instagram has 200 million users, up from 30 million at the time it agreed to buy the company.
As the former CEO and co-founder of MySpace, Chris DeWolfe has learned the hard way that Zuckerberg knows what he is doing. MySpace once reigned as the Internet's largest social network only to be eclipsed by Facebook as Zuckerberg constantly tweaked the service and added more compelling features.
Now, DeWolfe runs a mobile game company called SGN and has been impressed by Facebook's ability to target smartphone ads at the people most likely to be attracted to SGN's pastimes, which include "CookieJam" and "Bingo Blingo."
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Although he has no idea what Zuckerberg will do with Oculus, DeWolfe figures Facebook's $154 billion market value gave him the flexibility to wager on a technology that could break new ground. "Given Facebook's size, this deal doesn't seem that weird to me," DeWolfe said.
Oculus is a horizontal acquisition for Facebook, which means it lets the company expand into a new space, rather than grow its core business. It's a strategy employed by Amazon.com, whose businesses range from online retail to video streaming to tablets, and Google, which recently bought high-tech thermostat and smoke-detector maker Nest Labs for $3.2 billion.