Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), on Thursday, showed the first shelf-ready version of virtual reality, and also hinted on plans to convert t3D goggles into a new kind of computing device. The social network said that its Oculus will work for Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox One home console.
Facebook plans more uses going forward
Facebook execs talked about the Oculus Rift at an event in San Francisco. Though the device is aimed for high-end gaming, going forward the product would be used for voice recognition software and laser-based high-speed wireless data transfers, they told the crowd.
Michael Schroepfer, Facebook’s vice president for engineering, said, “This is a teleportation device,” adding, “What people are missing is that we have a clear path of research and development.”
Oculus Rift is expected to hit the markets in the first-quarter of 2016. Facebook did not gave a demo of the gadget, instead showed several games that will be out on Oculus Rift when it arrives next year.
The social network gave no detail on the cost of the gadget, which it got as part of Oculus VR after buying it for $2bn last year. One thing is for sure: the goggles will work on high-end PCs powered by Windows 10 OS and running on costly chips.
A deal with Microsoft could help the popularity of the goggles among the core gamers. Along with the Oculus Rift, the social network also showed its own handset, called Oculus Touch, using which a user can control the objects with a button and a trigger.
Mixed reaction from analysts
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster stated that the new gadget would help to raise the awareness of VR, and “Facebook’s multiple will increase given the size and sustainability of the VR theme.” Munster gave an Overweight rating to Facebook with a price target of $92.
Munster does not expect Oculus Rift to have a major impact on the earnings for the next couple of years. He sees it to be an big first move for virtual reality. He says that VR is next “Mega tech theme.”
Video games industry analyst at the IHS consultancy, Piers-Harding Rolls terms the deal as risk-free for Microsoft, but noted that streaming Xbox One games may not be very helpful in pushing the Oculus sales. Also, according to the expert, the video experience is not that attractive right now, and it may take a while to make the device appeal to more people.