Facebook will spend $250 million getting people to make games for virtual reality

Facebook pledged more than $70 million to VR in one day.
Facebook pledged more than $70 million to VR in one day.
Image: AP Photo/Gregory Bull
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Facebook clearly thinks virtual reality is the future, but it’s running into a problem: It need more things for people to do with it.

That’s why at Oculus Connect 3, the company’s VR conference, Facebook announced it will commit $250 million to VR development in the coming years, including $50 million for developers to make apps and games for mobile VR, $10 million for education VR, and $10 million specifically to recruit women and people of color to join the ranks of VR developers as part of a diversity push.

Facebook also will foot the licensing bill for Unreal Engine, a development platform, until the company makes $5 million in gross revenue.

The outlays are on top of the $250 million Facebook has already spent developing VR—not to mention the initial $2 billion to buy Oculus in the first place.

That’s a lot of scratch, and the large amounts being tossed around now aren’t necessarily confidence-inspiring. But Facebook assured developers that its marketplace is doing fine, on track for more than 500 games and apps by the end of 2016. Jason Rubin, of Oculus Studios, specifically pointed out that those 500 titles aren’t demos, but real games.

However, aside from a few titles from big-name developers, most of the touted experiences on offer in the Oculus store are essentially eight-minute interactive movies or simple indie games.