It’s no secret that, one day, the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) will play a key role in the Facebook platform. That much was made clear last when then the social networking giant bought Oculus VR itself for some $2 billion USD. We know that, in the near future, Facebook will allow users to view spherical content on their feeds from within VR, but what does this mean for the platform as a whole? To CEO Mark Zuckerberg, VR’s arrival will bring about a ‘richer medium’ that’s the next step up from video.
Zuckerberg recently explained as much in a Townhall Q&A in Delhi, India. “In terms of how this fits into the overall vision, you know, one of the big trends that we’ve seen on Facebook and on the internet overall is that, as time goes on, people get these richer and richer mediums for sharing what’s important to them,” he said. “So if you go back 10 or 15 years, most of what we shared on the internet was text, right? And, you know, over the last 5 or 10 years, now a lot of it is photos. And it’s visual, so photos, other graphical content.
“Over the next period of time, we’re really – I think – entering this golden age of internet video where the primary way we’re going to both share our experience and consume other people’s kind of experience and ideas online is going to be through video. So you’ve seen this progression from text to photos that were graphic but static to videos that are now kind of animated and richer,” Zukcerberg added.
“But, you know, I don’t think videos are the end of the line, right? Because, as rich as a video is in terms of telling a story it’s still just, you know, small screen. It’s still 2D. And I think that people want an even richer medium. You want to be able to feel like you’re there. And that’s what virtual reality and augmented reality can do. They can make it so that you actually feel like you’re right there in the scene.”
It was here that Zuckerberg explained that he hoped to share his daughter’s first steps within VR. “So in terms of the overall vision of how this fits into social media, you know, as time goes on the trend is towards richer and richer communication and I think at some point in the future – it’s going to take maybe 5 or 10 years to really develop before this is a very big thing that a lot of people are doing – I think this is going to be something where you can capture these scenes and you can share them in your feed or on Whatsapp, just like you share a photo or text today. And you’ll be able to pass around these things which are going to be very close to real life experiences that we have.
“And I think that’s going to be pretty amazing. I’m really excited about that.”
The Oculus Rift will launch in Q1 2016. VRFocus will continue to follow the title closely, reporting back with the latest updates on its progress.