Facebook VR Shows Us Why Zuckerberg Acquired Oculus
A glimpse into the future of social networking
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took the stage today at Oculus Connect in California to show off the company’s vision for virtual reality and social networking. Oculus, the Facebook-owned virtual reality company announced software like Oculus Room and Oculus Social along with hardware updates like its plans for movement-detecting RoomScale using added sensors, and the official release date of the Oculus Touch controllers. But Zuck kicked off the #OC3 proceedings with an early look into the virtual reality version of Facebook’s site.
The reasons behind the acquisition of Oculus in 2014 become much clearer when seeing Facebook VR in action. During the demo, we see a Justin Timberlake-looking Mark Zuckerberg joined by friends Lucy and Michael sharing videos and playing games. The social networking service will allow users to view 360 videos by surrounding the VR user with a video–and also make panning available simply by looking. Your friends will appear in the video as well as via their digital avatars.
The Oculus Rift Facebook VR demo also showed a scene where the three friends played a game of cards then switched to the beginnings of a sword fight. Users are able to (literally) draw their sword and use it to go up against other Facebook VR users. Towards the end of the demo, Zuck took part in a video call using Facebook Messenger to talk to Priscilla Chan on his wrist, inside virtual reality. Those within VR are able to choose their setting, whether it be one’s home, office or “virtually” anywhere.
Following the demo, Oculus offered up a release date and price for its Oculus Touch controllers ($199 for two controllers, coming in December) and a confirmation of RoomScale–possible upon purchasing a third sensor for $79 (shipping December 6). Zuckerberg gave no date as to when Oculus Rift owners can expect Facebook’s virtual reality view. But we have a feeling Facebook will get its users to Mars faster than Elon Musk can. In virtual reality, at least.
Watch the entirety of the Oculus Connect presentation here.