Having recently finished investing just over $2 billion in Oculus, a virtual reality company, Facebook seems to be making a statement about the future of digital video. Since the ubiquitous social media platform has a knack for making their features commonplace (who doesn’t understand the concept of a “like” button?), an increased focus on VR could change the game for your average internet user…and digital video watcher.
Facebook has been leaning more towards video in general as of late. The company’s acquisition of LiveRail, a video advertising tech company, in early July and then its new “related videos” mobile feature both helped orient the platform in that direction. Now, Oculus could bring a whole, new dimension to video viewing on Facebook — literally.
The next step in the equation has been Samsung’s partnership with Oculus on headsets that users can wear to generate VR experiences in conjunction with their mobile devices. Now, VR can go mobile, and the possibilities here mean going beyond VR gaming and into pure video.
As more digital platforms seek to snatch up a piece of the online video space, Facebook seems less and less like it will be missing out. Though long-form will remain out of the social media platform’s focus, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s remarks as cited in Variety, it’s been a very effective video sharing platform for the short stuff. Plus, the “related videos” feature that makes it so effortless for viewers to watch a bunch of friends’ videos in a row, so like its YouTube counterpart, could encourage video creation from laypeople as they seek to make more videos to share with their friends (harkening back to the original purpose of YouTube).
Speaking of YouTube, some creators on the video platform have already been giving Google Glass a try. Fans of vloggers exhibit such devotion and attachment to this particular brand of YouTube creator due to the personal nature of their content. And that’s just when vloggers have been filming themselves. With Google Glass footage (perhaps one day amped up by VR technology), viewers get to see from the same perspective of the creators with whom they feel so close to begin with. For a preview of the possiblities, check out this Google Glass video that Joe Penna, better known as the MysteryGuitarMan, posted back in September:
Just imagine what that will look like with the added VR option from Oculus and Samsung. It’s a gaze to the future, for sure, but perhaps one worth taking.