Facebook will invest another $250 million to develop content for virtual reality (VR) applications, founder Mark Zuckerberg said, as he demonstrated a new, wireless version of the Oculus Rift headset.
The lower-end headset will not need cables to connect to a personal computer, or a mobile phone.
He also unveiled $199 Touch hand controllers for holding and moving virtual objects, which will be available in December along with a programme called Avatar.
Avatar will allow people to create digital versions of themselves and a new software development kit will let developers integrate these avatars into their games. The avatars will be available on mobile in 2017.
At a developers conference, Zuckerberg claimed the future of VR will be social, and Oculus plans to release two social apps, Parties and Rooms. The first allows people to meet and chat in VR while Rooms puts users together in a shared space where they do group activities like play games.
What’s more, developers will have access to a $10 million fund for educational content, which will have a dedicated section in the Oculus store.
The Oculus platform currently has about a million active users.
Six months ago, Facebook launched its first VR goggles, which was priced higher than expected and also faced shipping problems.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the headset doesn’t have a hit game that would attract mainstream consumers. Added to its troubles was the fact that Oculus founder Palmer Luckey faced backlask for his political views.
These issues cost Oculus about 5,000 units in lost sales last month, the report said.
The Rift had “a little bit of a slow start,” Zuckerberg admitted at the conference.
Earlier this week, Google showcased its Daydream View VR headset, with the standout feature being its design.
Rather than the plastic bodies of rivals, it uses fabrics to create a lighter and softer headset.