Facebook Sets it Eyes on VR with Oculus Hardware

Facebook Sets it Eyes on VR with Oculus Hardware

Around 2 years ago, in 2014, Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus VR for $2 billion. A social media giant betting on a company that made VR headsets, mostly part of the gaming culture, didn’t make sense. However, Zuckerberg noted that games were a stepping stone to something bigger in his post. Virtual Reality was the next big thing, and Facebook wanted to be at the forefront. Zuckerberg implored his followers to imagine a new world, stating that they could enjoy a court side seat at a game, study with students and teachers worldwide, or consult with a doctor face-to-face, all by putting on goggles at home.

It seemed difficult to reach, but it could soon become a reality. We experienced this at the Oculus Connect event, and despite its eerie nature, interaction in the virtual world may become increasingly common.

#OC3: Facebook’s Big Bet on VR

In just 2 years, Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus has resulted in significant growth, increasing their workforce from 75 to over 400 employees. This acquisition also spurred Sony and HTC to improve their own VR offerings. At the OC3 event, Mark Zuckerberg unveiled Facebook’s vision for VR.

Great Software without Great Responsibility?

Facebook’s presentation on Oculus’ VR centered around the importance of a great experience and software. While Facebook has demonstrated their ability to develop dynamic social media platforms, it remains to be seen if they will approach this responsibility in the same manner.

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Facebook Sets it Eyes on VR with Oculus Hardware

Facebook was originally designed to connect friends from different countries without any ads or sponsored content. However, in recent years, all of these elements have been introduced. Although you can block ads with AdBlock and disable auto-play videos, is this truly a great user experience? Perhaps Facebook’s partnership with Oculus and their software and hardware expertise can provide a new and immersive virtual experience, but whether it will be free from distractions is yet to be determined.

The Virtual World Experience

Gaming in VR isn’t new, but living on Facebook’s virtual world is. During the demo, Zuckerberg and his colleagues showcased their avatars interacting in the virtual world, with no limitations. With just a click, they could transport themselves to the bottom of the ocean or have a video chat at home with their dog.

However, VR isn’t for everyone in its current state.

The demo was impressive, especially when Zuckerberg’s colleague brandished a sword. The possibilities in the virtual world are endless, but there will definitely be challenges, starting with monetization.

The Cost of Facebook’s VR

Right now, Facebook has not announced how it plans to monetize its VR concept. However, the cost of the hardware is a good starting point. The Oculus headset currently costs $599 with accessories (though a cheaper one is reportedly on the way) and the Touch Controller, showcased at the event, is available for pre-order at $199.

Facebook Sets it Eyes on VR with Oculus Hardware

Extra sensors for mapping the room are available for $79, bringing the total cost of a VR experience for one person to approximately $880. If you want to share the experience with your spouse, it will cost an additional $880 (unless you share the sensor and save $79).

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The current state of VR is not cheap. Additionally, the avatars seen in the demo were not as sharp as desirable, which is a common issue with VR headsets in production. VR technology is gradually moving towards the 8K platform from 4K, but it is not at its sharpest moment yet.

That Weird Feeling

I’m still unsure about VR. I tried the Oculus once for a game demo. Full disclosure: I’m not a gamer and hardly play. But the immersive world VR created for those moments was enjoyable.

Is VR only enjoyable with gaming? That’s the real question Facebook faces.

And that’s where VR should excel. Even the book Ready Player One imagined a VR world where everyone connected and lived there. But the main aim was to win the game designed by the creator of that world. Mark Zuckerberg is starting to sound like James Donovan Halliday.

Virtual or Real?

If given a chance, which world do you see yourself spending time in: virtual or real? Share your honest replies in our comments section, which is virtual.

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