Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) has been busy since it bought Oculus Rift for $2bn. After allying with Samsung on the popular Gear VR headset, it ported 360 videos to the Gear VR. And, last year, it hired Mike Booth, a former game director at Blizzard Entertainment and game designer at Valve, to operate its Social VR initiative. Now, the firm is elevating the virtual reality bar on both personnel and technical side.
Implementing dynamic streaming
At MWC in Barcelona, the social media giant declared that it’s implementing dynamic streaming in 360 videos for the Gear VR. Dynamic streaming only delivers the high-resolution portion of the image viewed instead of delivering the entire 360 video to the headset all at once
As per Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB), which has seen more than 20,000 360-degree videos uploaded to the social network, this method results in a 4X higher-resolution 360 video on the Gear VR, while decreasing the bandwidth load by a factor of four. The technology is expected to start arriving in a few weeks.
Facebook certainly is preparing for the day, when each and every Facebook home (more than 1.5 billion users presently) has virtual reality hardware. There certainly will be more hardware options in the short-term. LG recently unveiled its own VR headset and camera. We already have Gear VR and Google Cardboard. And, Oculus Rift will arrive this spring.
Facebook aims to make VR social
Samsung’s Galaxy S7 keynote came with surprises. The biggest came when Mark Zuckerberg, strode out on stage to explain how putting on a VR headset can actually be social, saying “Pretty soon, we’re going to live in a world where everyone has the power to share and experience whole scenes, as if we’re there in person.”
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) CEO explained how his firm plans to use a 360-degree camera like Samsung Gear 360 to share immersive videos of his daughter’s first experiences with his parents. Over a million hours of video have already been viewed in Samsung’s Gear VR headset, and millions will get to try the Gear VR this year, Zuckerberg said. Samsung will include a free Gear VR, a $99 value, with every Galaxy S7 pre-order.
It is the not the first time, the social media giant has talked about making the VR social. A year ago, Chris Cox, Facebook’s chief product officer conceded at the Recode’s Code/Media conference that the firm was working on its own VR apps. Oculus released a “Social Alpha” experience on the Samsung Gear VR headset allowing owners watch videos on Vimeo or Twitch with other Gear VR owners, who are not necessarily their Facebook friends.