Facebook Doubles Down on Virtual Reality

The Virt Weekly - Edition 2

After all of the virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) news that came out of the Consumer Electronics Show the other week, last week felt much quieter. Here is what happened last week in VR.

Facebook is arguably the largest and most active player in VR, so when they look to grow their ranks by nearly 15 percent with a focus on VR, drones, and infrastructure support, it shows they have some serious plans in the works. Whether or not this bet will pay off is still unknown, but initial VR games download data shows that, even at this early stage, people are excited about VR. Facebook's announcement coincided with the patent filings of another VR/AR bigwig - Magic Leap. Without the over half a billion dollars invested, these drawings would just be outlines of Neal Stephenson's next science fiction novel, but this technology will actually be available someday.

While VR is going to take its time making its way into consumers' living rooms, many businesses are already seeing benefits from using VR and AR. Audi announced the "Audi Virtual Reality Experience" and is toting it as "the most flexible sales format ever invented for the car industry." If you can sell cars in VR, imagine what else you'll be able to sell. Companies like Sixense are getting recognized for their solutions bridging the virtual-reality divide, and with retailers and consumers interested in VR shopping, there will certainly be many more "vetailing" options within the next few years.

To make up for the lack of news after CES, it seems like everyone was talking to the press. John Carmack and Nate Mitchell from Oculus talked about what they're working on (a consumer VR headset) and where they see VR going (everywhere). Eric Romo, CEO of AltspaceVR, talked about how his vision for the future of VR drove him to get involved. Fox Home Entertainment Worldwide President Mike Dunn spoke about how VR is not just a gimmick and has the potential to be a great brand extension, and Nonny de la Pena talked about VR's value in journalism.

Funding News

Ndreams, a video game development company working on VR games, raised $2.75M.

Where do you see VR going? Is it more than a gimmick? Join the conversation below, or reach out to me at phil@virt.mobi and @virt_phil, and check in next week for another edition of The Virt Weekly.