Samsung Gear VR CES AH-1

Facebook Now Has Its Own VR Team for Apps and Gaming

February 21, 2016 - Written By Nick Sutrich

At today’s Samsung Unpacked conference during Mobile World Congress, Founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg took the stage to discuss VR in a real way.  People have been wondering what Facebook had up its sleeve when it acquired Oculus back in 2014, and while the jokes of browsing Facebook with a display strapped to your head quickly made the rounds on Internet forums, the idea behind the joke may not be too far off from the final product.  During Zuckerberg’s segment at Samsung’s conference the Facebook CEO took time to talk about a number of initiatives the company has been taking to make VR a viable experience for the masses, and to deliver some truly meaningful content to its 1.5 billion users worldwide.

The power of social networking was unimaginable just 10 years ago, not to mention the 20 years ago when VR’s humble roots began.  This mashup of technology didn’t seem to make much sense until Samsung partnered with Oculus to bring the Gear VR, a way to utilize the power and connectivity of your smartphone to create virtual worlds that link people together.  But while the virtual worlds were certainly immersive and developers have begun to really play with different types of VR experiences, the actual social linking didn’t begin to take place until Oculus released its own social networking app this past Fall.  Since then Facebook has taken serious initiative to create content for the platform, and it has even gone so far as to create its own development houses to put together such content.

Facebook’s Social VR team is being spearheaded by none other than Mike Booth, lead developer for the popular Left 4 Dead cooperative game released some years ago, and mobile game guru Daniel James from Three Rings Design.  Immersive media has quickly become the new hot thing in the world of VR and 3D filming, and thanks to the new streaming platform that Zuckerberg announced on stage to provide higher quality streaming to customers, as well as Samsung’s Gear 360 personal 360-degree camera, that dream is quickly becoming a reality.  While Facebook was hush on the rest of its development efforts toward VR, it’s clear that 2016 will be the year that VR really makes it to the mainstream in a big way, and it’s all starting with the two biggest names in tech: Samsung and Facebook.