Virtual Reality is the next frontier that is being pursued by the major tech companies with a goal of making it as mundane as the modern smartphone. Facebook is one of the tech companies with interests in this segment including the likes of HTC with their Vive VR headset, Samsung with their Gear VR and Google with their Cardboard platform.
As you know a while back, Facebook bought Oculus Rift, the well known VR focused company for a cool $2 billion which signified its intent on being at the forefront of this tech. Yesterday during the Samsung Galaxy S7 unveil, Mark Zuckerberg made quite the entry and as a surprise, announced a partnership between his company and Samsung.
The partnership is centered around Samsung’s Gear VR where users will be able to stream 360 degree video right from their headsets. Here is the cool thing, as of now, 360 videos are usually appear so dull due to their perceived resolution and it is thanks to the large file sizes. What Facebook have done is that they have quadrupled the resolution quality of the streaming VR video by reducing the bandwidth required by 4 times so that these videos will look clearer. Also, their “powerful dynamic streaming technology” will involve creating several variants of the entire 360 video at different angles and as you watch the video, the algorithm adjusts as you continue looking.
The age of VR being mainstream is almost here and during the Samsung event, the attendees were given each a VR headset so this wave is about to hit the shore. They even revealed that over 1 million hours of video in VR have been watched on its platform and over 2000 games are available on its Oculus store. As Facebook positions itself to be at the centre of the VR hype, 360 degree video in VR will be as mundane just like any other video format.
Facebook also sees the future of VR being applied in the social aspect where VR will be used to connect people more. They even have a Social VR team whose mandate is to explore the social interaction in VR and will work with other departments in Facebook to found tomorrow’s future. The social network has 1.6 billion active users and it wants to secure its future by betting on VR and we will have to see how that will eventually roll out.