Facebook has added its name to the list of companies entering the virtual reality world. On Monday, the company announced that it has formed a team to work exclusively on virtual reality
In the announcement, the company said the team will research “social VR” and how to connect people with each other and share files using the virtual reality technology that is available. The team will also look at how they can turn virtual reality into a computing platform.
In 2014, Facebook acquired Oculus, a VR hardware company, and it has relied on the hardware to advance the technology. Right now, there is a group from the company that is working with Oculus in an effort to make their virtual reality plans happen.
Facebook didn’t go into details about how many people the company has working on social VR or the features the social VR experience will include. The company did announce that video game developer Daniel James, who co-founded Three Rings and Puzzle Pirates, as well as Mike Booth, who helped develop Left 4 Dead, will lead the group.
Even though Facebook just made the announcement today, On Booth’s LinkedIn page, he was listed as the social VR product manager back in December.
Mark Zuckerberg has been a fan of virtual reality for some time. In the past, he has spoken about the many possibilities of virtual reality, so the announcement didn’t come as a surprise.
Since acquiring Oculus, the company has been promoting traditional games, but that is expected to change with the announcement of the social VR plans.
In the tech world, there have been rumors about Facebook working on VR apps since last year, especially after non-virtual reality 360-degree videos were added to the Facebook news feed. Despite the rumors, Facebook only started discussing the prospect of social VR in January.
In addition to the Facebook announcing its plans for social VR, there was an announcement that Facebook will be adding a streaming technology that would be available on Samsung and the Oculus’ Gear VR headset. While Facebook isn’t coming out with a new VR app right now, users of the social media site will get to see better quality videos from the collection of 360-degree videos available on the Oculus video app.
When the headsets were released last year, poor quality streaming was a problem a lot of people had, so any improvements will be welcome by users. Despite the poor quality of the videos, the company announced that Gear VR users collectively watched over one million hours of video.