May 28, 2015 · 1 minute

Facebook has acquired Surreal Vision for an undisclosed sum to bolster its Oculus division's virtual reality technologies. Surreal Vision will join Oculus' research department in Washington and will remain focused on computer vision.

The Wall Street Journal speculates that the acquisition is part of Facebook's efforts to position Oculus as more than a gaming tool. Instead, it will create a new experience for streaming videos, live events, and other types of media.

Here's what Oculus had to say about Surreal Vision in the deal's announcement:

Surreal Vision is one of the top computer vision teams in the world focused on real-time 3D scene reconstruction – generating an accurate representation of the real world in the virtual world. Great scene reconstruction will enable a new level of presence and telepresence, allowing you to move around the real world and interact with real-world objects from within VR.
Oculus, which began as a Kickstarter project and was eventually acquired by Facebook for around $2 billion in 2014, said on Wednesday that its headset and the computer required for it to function should cost around $1,500 at release.

Something that expensive -- at least from the consumer's standpoint, if not according to the technocrats who think asking for a little more than a grand to experience the future of, well, everything is a steal -- needs more than games.

And there are many efforts to use virtual reality for more than amusement. Some believe it can help treat veterans coping with post traumatic stress disorder. Others have had profound experiences with virtual simulations. Still others think virtual reality could change religion, or at least its practice.

It's becoming clearer that Facebook wants to experiment with those concepts and didn't just acquire Oculus to make a virtual version of its social network. It isn't just seeing what Oculus can come up with; it's actively improving its team.

Virtual reality was interesting when it seemed like it might just be applied to games. Realizing that Facebook has more than a passing interest in the category might indicate that virtual reality could be as transformative as some claim.