Augmented Reality could help Facebook conquer the final frontier of ‘Social’
Facebook uses Augmented Reality avatars to promote ‘Social VR’
Let me jog your memory back to the spring of 2014. This was when Zuckerberg had just acquired Oculus in a mammoth $2 Billion deal. He had stated his intentions for the acquisition saying “We’re making a long-term bet that immersive virtual and augmented reality will become a part of people’s daily lives.” However, the Oculus was a bit slow off the bat even after its acquisition by Facebook and the hype surrounding the product died down.
The initial promise seemed to be wearing off due to the delay in creating an ecosystem around the product. The basic hardware was already in the reach of customers but the great content to drive its adoption was sorely missing. Zuckerberg clearly outlined Facebook’s plans to take AR/VR into the realm of social networking with its recent Oculus Demo. He also stated that for the next 10-15 years there would be a heavy focus on getting VR/AR experiences to fit into traditional eyewear.
The demo focussed on how the future of social is not just sharing and documenting memories but inviting friends to be part of the entire experience. The ‘Social VR’ experience is a huge step forward in achieving that goal, it overlays VR avatars of you and your buddies onto 360 photos and videos where you can talk, socialize, play games and even battle it out with lightsabers.
Mark Zuckerberg Shows New VR Demo at Oculus Connect
The biggest reveal of the demo is that Facebook is now promoting cross-network compatibility. Users will be able to take messenger video calls while within the simulation. Zuckerberg answered a call from his wife Priscilla Chan during the demo to showcase the capability. The capability of the device to have multiple responsive windows within a simulation is a huge step towards better UI development for the AR/VR ecosystem.
The simulation used touch controllers to input gesture commands to make the characters emote. This opens up new avenues for having meaningful contextual conversations using AR/VR and could be the next big step for social. It can also spell great success for social gaming, tabletop games which use community-based gameplay as the core mechanic. This could attract a lot of developers to create content for the platform and drive overall adoption of VR/ AR tech.