Facebook charts out roadmap for 'social' virtual reality

Facebook is also tweaking itself to emerge on top in a world that is about to embark on a VR revolution.


Facebook acquiring Oculus in 2014 kind of set the ball rolling for its virtual reality(VR) plans. Announced last year primarily for gamers, the Oculus Rift has seen a commendable response. Samsung Gear VR, which is powered by Oculus is also in stores now and combines software built by Facebook's Oculus team and mobile hardware built by Samsung. There are more than 200 games and apps available for the platform in the Oculus store, informs Facebook.

Facebook is also tweaking itself to emerge on top in a world that is about to embark on a VR revolution. 360 video on Facebook seems to be the first step -- it allows users to look around and feel like they are present while watching a video. Facebook announced that its dynamic streaming technology for 360 video is coming to Gear VR. It is touted as a more efficient way of delivering 360 videos, showing only the pixels that users are actually looking at in the highest quality, instead of delivering the entire 360 video in high resolution. By doing this, Facebook says they have quadrupled the resolution quality of 360 streaming video in VR by reducing the amount of required network bandwidth by 4x so videos look clearer and play faster.

Being as social as it is, Facebook's bigger dream is to enable more types of connections. The ability for friends who live in different parts of the world to spend time together and feel like they're really there with each other, for instance.

Facebook is investing heavily into the cause and has created a Social VR team at Facebook, focused entirely on exploring the future of social interaction in VR. "This team will explore how people can connect and share using today’s VR technology, as well as long-term possibilities as VR evolves into an increasingly important computing platform. They’ll work closely with Oculus and other teams at Facebook to build the foundation for tomorrow’s social VR experiences on all platforms," says Facebook.


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