Zuck shocked everyone by appearing on stage for the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event for MWC 2016. He wasn’t there to push Samsung’s new phones or talk about Messenger, his time onstage was all about virtual reality.
Zuckerberg revealed that Facebook (which, in case if you’ve forgotten, is the parent company of Oculus) will be bringing its dynamic streaming technology for 360 video to Gear VR (which, in case if you’ve forgotten, is powered by Oculus).
This technology allows significant performance upgrades to streaming content by only playing back what’s in view of the headset at any given time rather than processing the entire 360 sphere of video at once. All of this is done by seamlessly switching between dozens of variants of each 360 video taken from multiple angles. Facebook revealed more about the technology at its Video @Scale event last month.
The results speak for themselves, Facebook says their efforts have “quadrupled the resolution quality of 360 streaming video in VR by reducing the amount of required network bandwidth by 4x.”
Another interesting tidbit comes from a Facebook blog post today—they’re building a social VR team to focus “entirely on exploring the future of social interaction in VR.”
This team will explore how people can connect and share using today’s VR technology, as well as long-term possibilities as VR evolves into an increasingly important computing platform. They’ll will work closely with Oculus and other teams at Facebook to build the foundation for tomorrow’s social VR experiences on all platforms.
Facebook and Samsung partnering closer together can only mean good things for both companies right now. Samsung has offered Facebook and Oculus a connection point to more causal VR consumers through their widespread mobile ecosystem. With Oculus’s Rift hitting shelves at $599 and requiring a hefty gaming PC to boot, chances are limited that many will have immediate access to that brand of virtual reality. The $99 Gear VR, on the other hand, is bound to be the first step in getting consumers intrigued and comfortable with the technology.