Five years after buying Oculus for $2B, Facebook says VR is ready to take off. Here's what industry insiders think Facebook is finally getting right, and what's holding VR back.
- At this year's Oculus Connect - Facebook's annual developer's conference for its VR business - it was impossible to escape the event's tagline: "The time is now."
- Among Facebook's big announcements: Oculus Link, which lets owners of mid-priced Quest headset connect to a PC for high-end games; and new "hand tracking" technology that will eliminate the need for users to clutch special hand controllers.
- But VR has been heralded as the next big thing since Facebook acquired Oculus for $2 billion in 2014.
- Business Insider spoke to numerous VR and AR developers at the event to get a sense of what they think is holding the technology back and when they think it will finally break into the mainstream.
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At this year's Oculus Connect - Facebook's annual developer's conference for its virtual reality products- it's impossible to escape the event's tagline: "The time is now."
From multiple executive speeches during Tuesday's keynote down to the branded, reusable water bottle handed out to conference-goers at check-in, Facebook wants its development community to believe that the time is indeed now for VR, and for augmented reality, to finally reach mass appeal.
Facebook kicked off the 3-day event with some announcements that had developers in the audience visibly excited.
Perhaps the biggest applause of the two-hour keynote came for Oculus Link, which lets owners of the company's mid-priced Oculus Quest headsets plug into a PC to play higher quality games that were previously only available on the more powerful Rift headsets.
To make VR a more portable and approachable experience for consumers, Facebook also wants to do away with as much hardware as possible. To accomplish this, it said that starting in 2020, Oculus Quest users won't need controllers and can instead interact simply by using their hands - a feature called "hand tracking."
"What you're starting to see is the hardware is getting out of the way and with each step we're getting to a more immersive and natural experience," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on stage.
And what would a Facebook event be without a social media angle? On Tuesday, the company announced Facebook Horizon, a virtual reality world akin to Second Life, where users can create games, play games, and interact with one another.
Of course, VR has been heralded as the next big thing since Facebook acquired Oculus for $2 billion back in 2014.
And so, for all the razzle dazzle at the event on Wednesday, many developers and industry experts were reluctant to proclaim that VR has officially arrived.
Business Insider spoke to numerous VR developers at the Oculus Connect event.
Here's what developers and industry experts at Facebook's Oculus event believe will be the key catalysts to propel VR and AR into the mainstream:
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