Facebook Inc is opening an office in Pittsburgh to bolster research focus on its Oculus virtual reality platform. The US firm leased an office in Pittsburgh dedicated to Oculus Research, confirmed an Oculus spokeswoman. In other words, this means that the facility is not just for any employees of Facebook or Oculus, says a report from VentureBeat.
Pittsburgh – a talent pool
Pittsburgh house several top-notch researchers, who can be of use to the tech firms. “It’s the backyard of Carnegie Mellon University, where Uber has hired many robotics researchers to work on its self-driving car initiative,” the report says. Apple too has opened an office in Pittsburgh reportedly, and now Facebook is making its presence in the area.
Facebook Inc has its initial emphasis on computer vision, and is hiring a computer vision researcher, a computer vision engineer and a postdoctoral research scientist. There is opening for a general purpose software engineer as well.
“We are currently seeking innovative researchers with a passion for technology to develop next generation near to 3D face and body reconstruction and tracking at our research location in Pittsburgh PA,” one of the job postings said.
Last week, a report in Pittsburgh Business Times stated that Facebook was taking a 20,000-square foot office on lease in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Oakland, but it did not hinted of any connection to Oculus.
Alphabet vs. Facebook in VR
Apart from Facebook, Alphabet is also pushing its VR efforts. The firm recently formed a new VR. Clay Bavor, former VP for product management, will be heading the new VR division. Many expect VR to transform many industries including gaming, entertainment and design.
Alphabet is making sincere efforts to keep up with some of its rivals in the rapidly expanding world of VR, and Facebook is its arch rival in the race towards mainstream consumer VR. In 2014, Facebook bought VR firm – Oculus VR – for $2bn. Since then, technology analysts and investors are making speculations on Facebook’s plans for next-gen, Oculus-powered VR.
Oculus has grabbed a lot of attention due to its high-end hardware and software for virtual reality. Currently, the firm is taking pre-orders for the first consumer version of the Oculus Rift headset ($599) and for the Samsung Gear VR ($99). The latter is based on Oculus software, and went on sale last year.
At 10.22 EST, Facebook shares were up 1.43% at $96.31 while Alphabet shares were up 0.87% at $716.71. Year to date, Facebook’s stock is down over 8% while in the last one-month, it is down over 7%.