In 2014, Facebook paid Oculus $2Bn and raised several eyebrows. Indeed there were lot of questions & discussions around this bold move. One question that got every tech enthusiast thinking is… why would a giant in social networking go all the way out of its comfy zone, and invest, in a technology opposite to its core model. By opposite, we mean Facebook is about sharing stuff with people and VR is about exploring worlds of fantasy (i.e. single user experience focussed).
Today unsurprisingly, with VR tech standing firm, this $2bn investment proves to be quite a good bargain. It did manage to send shock waves all around the tech world – and it is paying well.
This fever spread across tech enthusiasts and techprenuers who jumped in and starting unraveling many other possible applications of VR. And now, more than ever, it is evident that VR social networking is the next logical step forward for giants like Facebook.
Evolution of Social Networks
Over the years, social networking has been evolving continuously. From being just a text-based communication medium, it has unfolded to ease image and video sharing. Now the next step is about eliminating the screen altogether and immersing into a social environment.
VR social networks are the tip of the iceberg. Following suit, online shopping, education, conferences and communication as a whole will take a turn towards digital immersion. Almost each of the activities we do using laptops or smartphones will get redefined opening up immense field of opportunities for startups.
There is Competition All Around
Thankfully Facebook is not the only giant company growing in the VR market. Many players like Google, HTC, Sony, Samsung and Microsoft are all betting big in VR. Looking at the current market situation, there is now confidence that VR will grow to be a $30bn industry by 2020.
Social VR is Calming Concerns
There have always been concerns raised about use of Virtual Reality to escape reality. Though initial applications have stood in support of this misconception, this point won’t be valid anymore.
With Social VR we are escaping – not reality, but, the drawbacks it brings with it. Imagine taking a flight just to attend a conference, imagine not being able to climb the mountain tops, all such limitations our real world has can be by passed at ease. These could be the key motivating points for companies like Facebook and Oculus.
The only challenge that is to be conquered now is creation of life-like interactions – gestures, body language etc. This though wouldn’t be so easy; every new development will take us a step closer.
Future of VR Social Networking
The possibilities and challenges discussed create a perfect platform for mind-boggling innovations. With companies like vTIme joining the party, tech giants have started pouring in large investments and in the long run it is all going to work our great for all those choose to adapt.
Most importantly, with all this buzzing activities, the mindset of people will start to shift. Once this happens, in the near future we are up for some exciting tech breakthroughs in Virtual Reality.