What Happened: Facebook has been on a mega-shopping spree of late, including its $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp and rumors that it is looking to buy drone maker Titan Aerospace. Its latest is the $2 billion acquisition of tech startup Oculus VR, makers of the Rift virtual reality headset. After being late to the game on mobile, it appears Facebook is hedging its bets on what it considers the future of social interaction—virtual reality. Oculus VR, for its part, has come a long way since its Kickstarter fundraising campaign just two year ago. Originally designed for immersive gaming experiences, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes the technology has the potential to be the next great communications platform.
What This Means for Brands: While the technology is still a ways off and questions about privacy and security remain unanswered (and concerning), virtual reality could dramatically change experiential marketing. VR would allow brands to transport consumers to destinations and fully immerse them in unique, branded worlds. VR could also mean entirely new types of social communities—ones that quite literally exist between online and offline worlds—with massive implications for public interest areas, such as education and health. It may be the ultimate wearable tech, leaving Google Glass and others in the dust.
Contributing to TRENDING items are Ephraim Cohen, Sarah Gordon, Lydia Herrera, Jeff Maldonado and Abby Ray.