Facebook ‘dramatically’ increases virtual reality spending

27 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook VR Developments Move Aggressively To Make VR Mainstream.

Samsung will begin selling a consumer version of Oculus’ virtual-reality headset for $99 later this fall, giving users the ability to dive deeper into VR games and 360-degree video experiences.At Oculus’ developer conference in Hollywood on Thursday, Facebook’s (FB) virtual reality platform unveiled lower-cost hardware and a slew of media partnerships that aim to bring the technology to the mainstream.At Facebook’s Oculus Connect 2 keynote presentation today, the company revealed that Netflix is now officially available on Samsung’s GearVR virtual reality headset.

The upcoming Gear VR headset will work with more smartphones, including Samsung’s Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge+, S6 and S6 Edge and their Super AMOLED displays to give users a richer virtual-reality experience, the company said in a Sept. 25 announcement. “Samsung has been at the forefront of delivering mobile experiences and [the] Gear VR Innovator Edition launched last year was no exception,” J.K. While hard-core gamers wait for the Oculus Rift to launch for use with PCs in the first quarter of next year, a more casual user can get his or her hands on the Samsung Gear VR: A new version is going on sale for $99 in November, half the price of the headset last year. With all of the mainstream focus on hardcore virtual games and abstract environments, Netflix is looking to fill the demand for watching movies and shows in virtual reality.

One major change is that the is now about 22 percent lighter than the Innovator Edition and much of its plastic parts on the inside have been replaced by wire. The last part of the tweet refers back to his talk, where Carmack talked about how the Gear VR’s wire-free setup allows players to engage with VR experiences hassle-free on a swivel chair.

Facebook “is committed to [virtual reality] for the long-term,” said Zuckerberg. “We’re going to work hard to serve this community.” Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe said “this is the dawn of VR and this is a once in a generational moment that we can create something that inspires millions of people,” TechCrunch reports. Although most of the details as to how this will work for the viewer are scarce, there are many routes Netflix can take to make the emerging technology a mainstay for its streaming service. Now, however, Samsung said we can expect to see the first consumer version begin to hit the shelves later this year with a few new tweaks and additions to the headset.

This doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to walk around inside of a film or wiggle your hands through, or even high-five a pseudo projected pop-up Han Solo; instead you’ll be inside of a virtual room with a large 3D-modeled television screen upon which you can watch Netflix which the software treats as an applied texture. The early technical details of the Rift are intriguing, including dual AMOLED displays with low-persistence that are designed for VR, according to Oculus. A Netflix (NFLX) app for Oculus launched Thursday, followed by apps from video game streaming company Twitch, along with Hulu, Vimeo and TiVo coming soon. Other than the lack of its head strap, gadget enthusiasts will also quickly observe that the side- mounted touch pad was also changed so that its usage will be more easy and comfortable. Pandora CEO Brian McAndrews penned an op-ed at Billboard on the cost of “free” music, the role of discovery and the future of the subscription vs. ad-supported model.

But Oculus is targeting a broader audience for the device through Oculus Video, which will let Gear VR owners buy and rent movies through partnerships with studios like 20 Century Fox and Lion’s Gate. These Fox and Lionsgate films and Netflix shows aren’t shot with the new VR cameras, so the legacy content won’t be 360, like videos that are shot specifically for the format. The Asian electronics company promised that the upcoming Samsung Gear VR will get an improved touchpad for better control of the device for gaming or entertainment.

But Samsung has referred to its headset as a “Head Mounted Theater.” Oculus CTO John Carmack says on Netflix’s Tech Blog, “In many conditions the ‘best seat in the house’ may be in the Gear VR that you pull out of your backpack.” The idea is that putting on an Oculus headset will allow users to feel like they’re sitting in a screening room, providing a much more intense, immersive experience than simply staring at a smartphone or iPad screen. Head-mounted virtual-reality display devices will see strong growth in the coming years, with about 65 million units shipping by 2020, according to a new report by ABI Research. Thursday’s announcements speak to the degree that VR is shifting from a high-tech experience for hard-core gamers, to an affordable way for anyone who wants to access entertainment to immerse themselves in content. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a surprise appearance on stage to underscore the importance of the new platform. “There is always a richer and more immersive medium.

Instead of strapping the user’s head in a VR headset, Disney is investigating shared immersive environments that surround many users at a time with high-resolution VR displays. This development, together with other ongoing developments of tomorrows technology at Facebook, which is rapidly becoming one of the most advanced tech companies in the world, make Facebook’s stock a solid buy and hold.

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