Facebook Goes All in on Virtual Reality
At the Oculus Connect event in California this week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg laid out his company’s vision for virtual reality today and going forward. Zuckerberg began:
““Why put a computer in your pocket when most people want a phone for text messages? Why do virtual reality when most people want to watch on a 2D screen?,” Zuckerberg said in his opening speech. “The future is built by the people who believe it can be better.”
Zuckerberg continued by acknowledging that virtual reality technology still has a lot of work to do. From users feeling nauseous and isolated to being burdened by a bulky headset and disappointed by clunky graphics and user experiences, consumer VR is still a work in progress. To help ameliorate some of these issues, Facebook announced its new suite of VR hardware & software:
A standalone VR app that will launch next year, Venues will connect users with live concerts, sports, movies, and more – all in VR.
The announcement is an exciting one for users clamoring for VR content & for producers looking to deliver it to them, but it worrying for developers of competitor apps without Facebook’s reach & connections.
Virtual Reality For Business
In order to bring more big brands into virtual reality, Facebook has introduced Oculus for Business. The enterprise bundle will give brands the tools they need to build high-end virtual reality experiences from video to interactive showroom experiences and more.
In order for more consumers to pick up higher-end VR, they need to be drawn in by the promise of top-tier experiences from recognized brands. This is a positive step in that direction.
Billed as the most accessible Oculus VR headset yet, the Oculus Go will be a standalone headset in the same vein as Gear VR or Google Daydream. The difference being, however, that Oculus Go will not rely on a mobile phone to power it. Oculus Go comes with its own on/off button and runs on its own computer. While the Go headset won’t be as powerful as its Rift counterpart, it gives Facebook a solid entry in the mobile VR competition.
The Go will sell for $199 and be available sometime next year.
Despite a lot of outlets dimming their outlook on VR’s explosiveness in the next few years, Facebook this week has completely doubled-down. With a clear vision and optimistic projects, it will be interesting to see how much of an impact Facebook has on an industry that is still waiting to totally breakthrough.