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Facebook steps up VR efforts

12 OCT 2017

At its fourth annual Oculus Connect event, Facebook announced Oculus Go, its first “all-in-one wireless headset” along with Oculus for Business and virtual reality (VR) tools for developers.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg described Oculus Go as “the most accessible virtual reality experience we’ve ever built.” The device is a standalone headset, meaning it does not need to be connected to a mobile phone or a cable: features Zuckerberg said make it “great for playing games, watching movies, or hanging out with friends.”

The device will launch in early 2018 priced $199, which is well below the price of rival HTC’s Vive.

Facebook also announced a bundle for businesses comprising its Oculus Rift headset; controllers; dedicated customer support; and extended licences and warranties needed to set up and deploy VR systems.

The company believes the bundle will benefit businesses in fields including tourism, education, medicine, construction, manfacturing, automotive and retail. Facebook cited partnerships with Audi, DHL and Cisco as examples.

Developer tools
Facebook launched new tools to make it easier to build apps and social experiences across the Oculus Platform in a bid to expand a current portfolio of more than 2,000 VR apps.

It upgraded an avatar feature, announcing it will be available across multiple platforms from 2018 so developers can build once and ship anywhere.

Facebook also aims to simplify the process of adding safety features into social apps by providing developers tools covering in-app blocking and reporting systems. The company also plans to expand tools for monitoring and enforcement.

It also opened the Explore API for Gear VR, so developers can create custom stories to boost discoverability of their content, and announced plans to launch Oculus Venues in 2018, enabling users to watch concerts and premieres of new movies and TV shows with up to 1,000 people.

Facebook also introduced 3D Posts, a native media type in Facebook News Feed enabling users to share VR content with people who don’t have a headset.

The social media giant alo announced Kits, a feature covering user-generated VR content, and is also developing methods allowing users to share such content via an app launched in April.

 

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Saleha Riaz

Saleha joined Mobile World Live in October 2014 as a reporter and works across all e-newsletters - creating content, writing blogs and reports as well as conducting feature interviews...More

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