Social VR, Facebook, Samsung…oh what a day

It was an eventful day at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. A day that shall be henceforth known as Zuckerday.

Samsung has some new phones coming soon. In an exciting move, you can get a Gear VR if you preorder. Nicely played Samsung.

Like, Oprah meme nice. Seriously, that shit’s already on memegenerator.


And they announced a pretty damn nifty camera for 360 VR video.

Not content to just take my preorder money, they also had Mark ‘Yo, Mark invest $53m in me’ Zuckerberg.

The Nerdlord himself speaks at The Verge.

He talks up the Facebook owned Oculus VR technology, hardware and the potential of VR transforming society and interaction. As part of that Facebook is pushing forward with SocialVR as a team/concept.

Hell of a move, working with Samsung. Everyone naturally went batshit crazy for it, mainly because OMG celebrity. But it’s a beautiful move that kicks the nascent VR industry along. Mashing social and VR together so openly will open up VR to the absolute masses.

So in one way that’s already known to be pretty big in the potential of VR. Adult communities have already flagged their interest in … interactive … communities in VR. But in another way, we’ve seen what Facebook has done in terms of normalising gaming apps, socialising lives and connecting you with those you’ve always wanted to stalk. Now, in VR you can actually stalk them! How exciting!

The technology is really cool too. Facebook have invested a lot of resource into making VR and video work seamlessly on Facebook. It’s paid dividends, and is really industry leading. They’re investing a lot more into it, which can only be a good thing for VR in general.

But it’s the business side of it that is REALLY interesting with this.

Facebook is now openly hitting the high end market with the Oculus, mid market with the Gear VR, and the low end Google Cardboard by default. A multi level product approach is a great way to become a leader in the industry – at one end it is bespoke gamers and experiences, and at the other end it’s ubiquity. The ubiquity of virtualised interaction enabled by Facebook – gaming apps, shopping/crafting/making/sharing, liking, stalking, video, oversharing, selfies, foodie photos…

The business growth side for this is enormous – it gives Facebook a stronger foothold into the Asian market. Wired hints at this in their article – targeting the interests of the Prime Minister of Singapore, and President of Indonesia give Facebook a great leg up in the region – Indonesia for its massive market, and Singapore as the new regional centre for technology and development.

It also gives a big chance for Facebook to get right on the bleeding edge and home screen of more devices without investing in phoneware.

For Samsung, it gives them access to great technology, software…and also gives them some better app and OS credentials, something they’ve always lacked. I forsee that their OS will start to surface the Oculus store, and probably a combined Samsung Oculus store in the near future.

This is big, people. Hashtag #socialvr now.

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