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Facebook COO: VR Does Not Mean the End of In-Person Conversations

With the introduction of multiplayer demos such as Toybox and user-tracked features like Oculus Touch, virtual reality (VR) is getting closer and closer to bringing people together online as if they were standing next to each other in a real room. There’s still much to work to be done in this area, but with Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD) creator Oculus Rift now owned by social networking giant Facebook you can be sure that this will become a huge feature of VR in the future. But does this mean the end of in-person conversations? Not according to Facebook itself.

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Company COO Sheryl Sandberg said as much during a recent panel at the Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland which also included Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “Will virtual reality mean that Satya and I never have another in-person conversation?” Sandberg rhetorically asked, as reported by CNBC. “Will what people are calling the fourth industrial revolution mean that all the jobs are destroyed? My answer to that is no.”

She later explained her answer using the example of Clouds Over Sidra, VRSE’s compelling 360 degree video which follows the life of a young Syrian refugee. “Virtual reality is being used at this conference to show a film called Clouds Over Sidra,” Sandberg stated. “It tells the story of a 12-year-old refugee girl, and what her life is like,” Sandberg said in a panel. “Because it’s virtual reality, it’s really much easier to feel connected to her and have an immersive experience.”

The Oculus Rift will be releasing on 28th March 2016. Pre-orders for the kit are open now for $599 USD. The Oculus Touch controllers, however, won’t be available until the second half of 2016.

For the latest on the Oculus Rift, Facebook’s work in VR and more, keep reading VRFocus.