All Posts in virtual reality

February 19, 2015Published by: Charlie Sharpe

Facebook’s second coming: Could VR research revive the social network?

Virtual-reality-speeltje-of-bruikbare-marketingtool_900_450_90_s_c1_smart_scaleAs you all may be aware, the once giant of social media - Facebook - has been struggling recently. The number of new users joining is declining and, while it now has 1.35 billion users across the globe - 35 million ahead of Youtube - other social platforms are beginning to close the gap. It is fast becoming a common view that the site is inundated with advertising and is no longer popular among social media's target audience - Facebook is out of date. Some reports have even suggested that the network’s days are numbered and that the near future is one without it.

However, almost a year after the company's $2bn acquisition of the virtual reality company Oculus VR, Facebook Chief Product Officer Chris Cox has announced that research into virtual reality app creation has begun. "The first time you're in [a virtual world], you realize you are looking at the future," Cox said. "You look around, and it's beautiful." (PC Magazine). Cox went on to explain that, when users share videos, posts, photos etc on Facebook they are not just sharing media - they are sharing an experience. Could this be a sign of a daring comeback? Only time will tell.

For now though Cox has announced that the technology is still a long way away so don't expect to be reliving your friend's ski trips or a Beyonce concert tomorrow!  The same is true for the consumer version of the Oculus Rift, but for now Facebook can only hope that VR technology will be its saviour.

March 26, 2014Published by: Drew Benvie

The implications of Facebook purchasing Oculus

Facebook buys Oculus Rift

It seemed no one in the tech space saw it coming. On Tuesday the 25th of March 2014, Facebook announced that it had purchased Oculus, developers of the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift, for $2bn. According to Oculus' company statement on its website, Facebook "understands the potential for VR" and the social networking giant can see "virtual reality’s potential to transform the way we learn, share, play, and communicate."

Despite some excitement at the thought of Facebook entering the VR market, not everyone in the VR industry was enthralled by the acquisition. Noticeably, Markus Persson, the creator of Minecraft who is planning a Oculus Rift version of his sandbox game, posted a particularly scathing view on the whole deal. In his blog, he mentions that he finds Facebook "creepy" and is unsure of the social network's motives.

Regardless of the negative and positive reactions Facebook's acquisition of Oculus is bound to receive, there is no denying that it presents opportunities for brands, education and the way we consume social media.

Brands 

Apart from simply creating more immersive gaming experiences, VR provides opportunities for brands as well that goes beyond gamification. According to Marketing Week, Facebook entering the VR space enables marketers to take on a more indie games developer role, developing immersive gaming content for their audience.

Additionally, VR on social networks presents marketers with the opportunity to create even deeper brand experiences for their target market. Mobile operator and England Rugby sponsor 02 is already being a first mover with the Oculus Rift by offering fans a chance to go behind the scenes with the England Rugby squad.  With this acquisition, we're bound to see more brands, who already have a strong presence on Facebook, experiment with VR.

Health

Virtual reality has huge implications for the real world - one of the most important areas being health. The Oculus Rift enables individuals to rehabilitate from experiences physical and mental as well as to experience things which they may not have otherwise been able to due to limitations. From a more in-depth perspective, the Oculus Rift enables health professionals to more deeply study organic matter and perform research, insights or study things which might be difficult to do in previous tech environments.

Education

Where education has been based around broadening the horizons of the young and old, virtual reality adds a layer to the toolkit of professors and teachers around the world. From a research perspective and a teaching point of view, Education fulfils this remit to broaden horizons and provide access to parts of the globe which were not accessible before. A PhD student can explore relevant elements of their study in the OR, or a teacher can show students a part of the world they're studying. Facebook wants to tap into this and become a 'go-to' source for knowledge, plus an incredible medium to view it on.

Photo courtesy of Kotaku