Facebook is planning a world beyond gaming and entertainment for its virtual reality headset Oculus Rift, aiming to create a more immersive social experience through the company’s communications tools.
At a recent Facebook developer’s conference, company CTO Mike Schroepfer dropped a hint that the Oculus Rift VR headset could be used for more immersive social experiences.
“We are just on the cusp of getting there, the sense of presence … the sense that you are not where you stand,” said Schroepfer.
He gave the example of how we all experience this when we have a birthday on Facebook.
“That’s our hope of what we can do with VR; to connect the world.” He adds that Facebook’s goal over the next ten years is to bring everyone into these moments. “Bringing people together is the core of our mission.”
Virtual reality headsets such as the Oculus Rift and Samsung’s Gear VR have launched with a focus on video games and entertainment, but Schroepfer and other Facebook executives attempted to convince attendees that the gadgets could transform how people communicate.
Oculus Rift’s founder and chief executive Palmer Luckey has said in the past that Facebook in its current form wasn’t a good fit for virtual reality.
“Looking at a larger than life News Feed or someone’s photos in VR isn’t interesting. It needs to be new experience. I don’t think it’s going to be Facebook the social network in VR, but people are narcissists and they want people to see what they think are their amazing lives,” he said at International CES in Las Vegas in January.
Facebook said the Oculus headset will be released “before long,” but did not provide a timeframe.
Samsung’s Gear VR, which was built in partnership with Oculus Rift, was released to consumers through the electronics chain Best Buy in the US on Friday, becoming the first VR headset to be available beyond developers and early adopters to the mass market.