Facebook has been exploring virtual reality since it purchased the virtual reality (VR) gaming company Oculus in 2014. The largest social media network today is planning on launching a new Facebook feature that involves virtual reality.
Many might have found it odd that Facebook acquired Oculus for $2 billion. But the recent speculations have been put to rest as Facebook already confirmed that they have been developing VR features for their social media network.
An announcement was made at the annual Oculus Connect developer conference. Facebook unveiled the updated prototype of the social VR features. New avatars, videospheres and video calls were reportedly introduced in the update. Facebook plans to become the first social media network to host a VR experience.
Electronic Arts' vice president and general manager of "The Sims 4" Rachel Rubin Franklin was recently appointed as the head of Facebook's social VR team. Franklin, along with her team, will make sure that the upcoming feature will provide users with an immersive quality.
According to social VR product manager Mike Booth, the VR experience will be launched quite soon. They plan on releasing their project to the public so that they can get feedback. Though Booth announced that it will be launched soon, he didn't give an exact release date.
At the Oculus Connect conference, Booth also told the public that the developers experimented with VR games. However, the projects were eventually cancelled, as they sought to pursue features that concentrate more on social interaction.
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Rumor has it that Facebook is creating a VR feature for Instagram as well. Reports said that the social media network plans to integrate 360 degree photos to Instagram.
Furthermore, a wireless VR headset is currently in development. The headset is still in its prototype phase, but when it will be ready, the user won't need computers or smartphones to power the headset.
Watch out for more developments of Facebook's social VR experience.