With time, we have found better ways to communicate and share. Earlier it was text which later moved on to a picture. Well, a picture was definitely the medium we widely accepted but what was more engaging was a video. And to bring this all to us, we cannot forget but thank Facebook. After Facebook’s video strategy turned out to be a success, the social network giant’s CEO is now eager to completely revolutionize the way we communicate by mastering virtual reality technologies. Almost 2 years back Facebook acquired Oculus VR for $2 billion, a company known for making virtual reality glasses. Well, that huge amount says for itself that some big things are about to begin. So, let’s get to know how Facebook is helping in bringing the most immersive and engaging technology ‘Virtual Reality’ to masses.
Till now we have seen virtual reality as a medium of escape. The HMDs are meant to be mounted to shut down the real world in favour of a virtual one. But here, we are talking about ‘Social VR’. Though any of the games or apps available for VR till date have nothing much to do with being social but then there comes Facebook. Facebook, an inherently “social” company is working towards making virtual reality “Social”.
Recently, at the F8 developer conference, Facebook demoed how it looks at virtual reality which is precisely connecting two or more people in a virtual world. As everyone watched, Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer stood on stage in front of a live audience in San Francisco, put on one of Facebook’s Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets and “teleported” to London. There, he met up with another Facebook employee, who was actually wearing his own headset at the company’s Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters. The two didn’t actually meet, of course, but they were able to chat and experience London together as digital avatars. They even took a virtual selfie and then shared it directly to their real Facebook page.
According to facebook, the idea is to “give a sense of what we mean when we say enabling virtual and social presence in VR.” The most important part of the Facebook Social VR experience is to make people feel like they are inhabiting the same space. Like they say, “It’s about sharing an experience, but not to go into space and shoot aliens.” Talking about the future, Zuckerberg exclaimed that, ““in the future we’ll probably still carry phones in our pockets, but I think we’ll also have glasses on our faces that can help us out throughout the day and give us the ability to share our experiences with those we love in completely immersive and new ways that aren’t possible today.”
But, considering the fact that VR is an expensive technology and so are high-end headgears like Facebook’s Oculus Rift, bringing the concept of social VR to masses is going to be a tough task. If Facebook wants to sell lots of VR headsets and, more importantly, get the world using its VR software, it needs to create interest for VR technology beyond the solo gamer.
Though, the ability to meet others “face-to-face” from thousands of miles apart might help.