SOCIALIZING IN VIRTUAL REALITY
When Facebook purchased Oculus back in 2014, Mark Zuckerberg was speaking of the promise of virtual reality (VR), claiming that it is the next communication platform. Now, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, he has announced that his company is doubling down on his prediction with the creation of an internal team dedicated to Social VR.
In their press release, the new team announces that they will be exploring the future of social interaction in VR and that they will be responsible for developing and forecasting the future of virtual reality itself, as it continues to mature and becomes more commonplace.
Facebook’s purchase of Oculus isn’t neglected either, as the new team will be working closely with members from Oculus on this front.
While VR remains in early development, this announcement ensures that Facebook will be one of the companies seeking to solve the hardware and software challenges in VR and be one of the first to sprint from the VR starting line.
VR ON MOBILE DEVICES
The company is also focusing on enabling users to teleport into memories with 360º video.
“I think about my baby daughter and the way I want to remember when she takes her first steps.” Zuckerberg said. “When I took my first steps, my parents just took a pen and wrote the date down in a baby book…when my cousin, when her son took his first steps, she took a photo with a camera. My sister, when her son took his first steps, she took a video on her phone. But I want to capture the whole scene. So, I hope we can take a 360 video. So that way, even if my parents and my family aren’t there to experience it in person, they can feel like they’re right there with us. VR is the next platform, where anyone can create and experience anything they want.”
And while 360 video remains a niche so far on Facebook, with over a million viewers per day and 20,000 videos uploaded daily, this fledgling format provides exposure to virtual reality to most users. Despite these numbers paling in comparison to regular video formats, this is surely going to be boosted by a string of recent announcements, like the Samsung and LG’s 360 cameras.
Facebook also pointed out that more than 200 games and apps have been developed for the platform in the Oculus store, and people have already watched more than a million hours of video in Gear VR, stating that this response is very strong.