Some imagination is required to see the potential here. Imagine the following scenario:
You're at the Superbowl. On the 50 yard line, first row, behind the Seattle bench (or the Denver bench, if you prefer that.) When you look to the left and right, you see the massive crowd shouting in excitement. When you look up, you see the top of the stadium. The stadium looks huge. The ceiling appears hundreds of feet away. You can hear the roar of the crowd, the echo of the announcers, the shouts of the quarterback, coaches, and players. You see the football players line up. They look about 60 feet away from you. And they look real. You are virtually there. The events that you're watching are actually happening, because you're viewing a 3D feed of the Superbowl from a 3D camera set up on the 50 yard line.
You decide that the crowd is a little too loud. You pull up a virtual interface and reduce the crowd noise to 75%. Now you can hear the players and the announcers easier.
You look down. You can see your body. You're holding a beer. You take a drink from the beer. (You're actually holding a beer in your living room. Your body and the beer are superimposed on the 3D image in your viewer.)
If the Oculus can provide a near "retina" display, with low latency head tracking, and an immersive, realistic 3D image of an actual event, then the above is possible.
Now consider the financial potential. If this device is really successful, it may sell 10 million units in the first year. This is not unreasonable, when compared to console sales, which are in the tens of millions. Now, what will the market pay for a front row virtual seat at the actual Superbowl. Compared to pay-per-view costs of premium events, $50 seems likely. If they can convince half those Oculus owners to shell out that money for this novel experience, they could be looking at $50 x 5 million is $250 million revenues, from a single event.
Then expand this out to other events. UFC fights. The Olympics. Wimbledon. Music concerts. Walking through the Louvre, or the Guggenheim. Touring the ISS. The Grand Canyon. The Redwood Forest. Scubadiving a wreck in Bonaire. Skydiving.
Virtual parties with remote friends in whatever environment you can dream up. A penthouse in Manhatton. The restaurant at the Eiffel Tower. A four story cabin in Telluride. The docking bay of an Imperial Star Destroyer.
And of course, all the porn and the video games will also be available.
Virtual Reality advocates have been preaching these possibilities since around 1995. But what has changed since 1995? In 1995, most consumer VR sets were 320x200. Now the resolution has improved 30 times, with cheap 1920x1080 displays, and 4K displays on the horizon. The resolutions are so good, you will not be able to distinguish the individual pixels, and all that retina hype will finally have some use.
And graphics processing power? It's literally 10,000 times more advanced than 1995, which was mostly just CPU based at that time.
Much of the cost of high-end VR systems was in the optics. It appears that Oculus has solved this by simulating the optics using graphics engines, which saves hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on the VR hardware, but still achieves similar results. (This remains to be seen.)
We now are deploying reasonable bandwidth to houses, so that streaming 3D events becomes viable.
We have the technology, and all the pieces are finally coming together. If Facebook and Oculus play this right, they can start a revolution as monumental to the way we interact as the web itself.