Before Oculus released virtual reality goggles, there was a lot of buzz about virtual reality in the tech world. Everyone wanted to the know how virtual reality would revolutionize the industry. Unfortunately, Oculus’ virtual reality Rift goggles did not go over quite as well as they’d hoped.
Sure, virtual reality was talked about and people thought it was “cool”, but it just never broke through into the mainstream market. After Oculus released the Rift goggles, it had to deal with competition from Sony Corp and HTC corp, in addition to a string of gaffes that took away from their business. More recently, founder Palmer Luckey received negative backlash due to his political views from the developers that Oculus depends on.
Oculus is trying to come back strong, recently announcing that it is producing a new lower-end headset. This headset would not need to be tethered to a personal computer or a mobile phone. Oculus also unveiled Touch hand controllers for grabbing and moving virtual objects. These controllers will sell for $199.
But the change to virtual reality that truly has the potential to change the landscape of virtual reality is an initiative by Facebook to make virtual reality social. At an annual developer conference called Oculus Connect, Facebook demoed complex avatars that users can customize to look like themselves. These avatars are able to express emotions such as anger and shock, in addition to smiling and laughing.
Zuckerberg has been emphasizing for while now his desire to change his social network to a place where people can feel they are conversing face to face. A few months ago, he further elaborated upon this dream at F8, so we are not surprised to see that he has come up with something new and exciting to change the Facebook.
In addition to being able to create custom avatars and choose emotions, you can choose the background to a life location. The demo showed Zuckerberg’s avatar entering his home, where he could check on his dog.
The platform also allows users to get creative, by letting people draw and play with their creations. Through the Oculus Avatar feature, people are allowed to interact with people all throughout the world using their avatars.
It seems that maybe virtual reality will finally appeal to the mainstream user given these new changes. It’s anyone’s guess whether Oculus will experience the surge in success they’ve been hoping for.