The virtual reality (VR) field is something you need to observe when you are trading stocks online. It has a good deal of potential, with tech giants Facebook ($FB) and Google ($GOOG) entering it for the long haul through different strategies. Let's see what $FB has come up with recently.
Facebook acquired Oculus Rift in 2014 with CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying it would be made into a platform for a range of experiences beyond virtual reality entertainment, such as communication and social networking. It took two years for Facebook to finally announce any interesting initiatives in this regard.
Oculus Avatars and Oculus Parties
The leading social network has launched Oculus Avatars, which refers to a custom social identity which people can use for their social interactions. Oculus Parties helps people up to eight to interact in a virtual room called Oculus Rooms.
Zuckerberg presented a demo of this kind of interaction. Social avatars facilitate direct interaction between people who may be geographically apart. Other initiatives included an announcement of $250 million for encouraging developers to come up with interactive applications on the platform. There was also $10 million dedicated as an education fund to virtual reality. Facebook has now launched the Oculus Ready which is a PC certification program that helps identify PCs capable of playing VR. Asynchronous Spacewarps were also launched that make regular PCs VR-accessible.
Oculus Earphones and Touch Sensors
$FB has also launched Oculus earphones for a more fulfilling VR experience. They are priced at $49. The company also released Oculus tracking controllers, available for $199. These touch sensors enable users to manipulate objects in virtual reality. These hardware devices will start shipping later in 2016.
It's interesting that Facebook's rival Google follows a different strategy. It has released the Daydream VR headset that functions with mobile phones. Google counts on the ever so popular mobile ecosystem to make its VR platform more popular. Facebook, though, is looking to promote its VR platform as an independent one having its own universe of content and games. On the surface it may seem that Google has a more winning strategy, but investors and observers need to wait and see which strategy gets to benefit the most from the increasing buzz surrounding virtual reality.
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