Facebook is now investing in social virtual reality experiences, beginning with the creation of its own Social VR team.
The team will be focused on the exploration of the future of social interaction within the terms of virtual reality. It will be looking at the ways that people connect and share using the current virtual reality technology, as well as how the technology can evolve into the future.
The Social VR team will be working closely with Facebook-owned Oculus, as well as other teams in the company for the development of social VR experiences across all possible platforms.
The men who were tapped to lead Facebook's Social VR team are Daniel James, a game developer known for Puzzle Pirates, and Mike Booth, the creator of the popular Left 4 Dead franchise.
The creation of the Social VR team was spurred by the massive growth of mobile virtual reality, as seen in the figure of a million hours of video watched on Samsung's Gear VR. The virtual reality headset, launched in November 2015, combines the virtual reality software of Oculus and the mobile hardware of Samsung. The platform now offers over 200 games and apps in the Oculus store.
Facebook also said that it is working on new technology to push dynamic streaming to mobile virtual reality, with 360 video as the first step in the project. More than 20,000 360 videos have been uploaded to Facebook - a number that grows by the hundreds every day.
The social network is now opening the dynamic streaming technology for 360 videos to the Gear VR, featuring quadrupled better resolution quality of 360 videos, while reducing network bandwidth requirements by four times.
"Pretty soon, we're going to live in a world where everyone has the power to share and experience whole scenes, as if we're there in person," said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, surprising everyone at the 2016 Mobile World Congress as he walked onto the stage for Samsung's Galaxy S7 keynote.
Facebook and Zuckerberg are decidedly pushing for virtual reality to enter the mainstream, and the formation of the Social VR team and the continued development and rise in popularity of the technology could have that goal achieved sooner than expected.