A book that was recently published has claimed that Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, was thinking about buying a majority stake in the gaming engine Unity. Just last year, Facebook acquired Oculus VR for $3 billion and if they went through with the purchase of Unity, they would have been able to dominate the VR gaming market for decades to come.
Unity is a gaming giant that has built a popular gaming engine which creates half of all the VR gaming titles. Blake Harris has claimed about this revelation in his new book “The History of the Future”. The book investigates the Facebook acquisition story of Oculus and the drama surrounding this business transaction.
When the book was in its early stages, Harris was involved heavily with the PR team at Facebook and used his connections to get access to regular interviews with the top executives of Facebook. Harris further claims that when he researching for his book, he gained access to over 25000 documents from various sources, including a 2500 worded email from the CEO of Facebook which was sent to the CEO of Oculus. This email was dated June 22, 2015, and although news outlets have not been able to independently verify this email, the contents of this email lay out a promising case for the acquisition of Unity as Facebook wants to increase their foothold in the VR world.
The book further goes on detail about this deal, which was codenamed ‘One’, would have enabled one of the biggest tech giants in the world to leverage the reach of one of the world’s most promising new game developer start-up and use it to create a new VR Platform for consumers, thereby warding off competition from the other industry giants of the tech world.
Unfortunately, the deal did not materialize and since 2015, Unity has been able to raise $600 million from Silicon Valley on a valuation of upwards of $3 billion. Unity is also looking to offer its shares and go for a possible IPO by the year 2020.
The email offers a rare perspective behind the thoughts of Mark Zuckerberg regarding the VR platform. Zuckerberg believes that their company is vulnerable on the mobile platform due to the major strides already taken by Apple and Google. Unless Facebook is able to act quickly, Zuckerberg thinks that his company will not be able to realize their AR/VR goals.
Although the deal did not come through, Zuckerberg was strongly in favor of the deal with Unity. Zuckerberg notes in his email that he isn’t entirely sure about his investment plans on VR gaming platforms, but it does allow his company to increase their chances of succeeding in the highly competitive VR market. Although this industry is fraught with some real challenges, Zuckerberg thinks that investing in gaming companies would allow Facebook to build something great and create a unique ecosystem around the future applications of VR. Facebook has still not responded to the media about the claims from this book.