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Facebook Takes $2B Leap Into Virtual Reality

NEW YORK (The Deal) -- Facebook's (FB - Get Report) foray into virtual reality, via the purchase of headset developer Oculus VR Inc., comes with a $2 billion up-front price tag. If the virtual reality startup hits its targets, the price could rise by another $300 million.

The cash-and-stock payout is substantial, considering that Oculus does not have a consumer version of its virtual reality headset. Eager buyers have placed 75,000 orders for its developer kit.

Considered alongside Facebook's $19 billion purchase of messaging company WhatsApp in February, the price illustrates the outsized parameters of current technology valuations.

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"I think the key thing to keep in mind on this is these are all incredibly rare companies, right?" said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg regarding the company's recent payouts during a Tuesday investor call.

"So we'll go a long period of time without doing anything like this and then I think we're in this kind of rare period now where we've just done two really close to each other," he added, referring to Oculus and WhatsApp.

Oculus developed its headsets for gamers, though Zuckerberg said the devices have applications in other fields and fit well with Facebook's traditional social media business.

"This is really a new social platform," he said. "By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures."

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