NY Times Confirms Facebook Founder committed to VR

Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg is SUPER committed to VR as the next big thing. In a discussion between New York Times technology reporters, the truth comes out and you can see for yourself, just how big VR is going to be. An excerpt from teh article is below. A link to the complete New York Times Article is below that.

Each Saturday, Farhad Manjoo and Mike Isaac, technology reporters at The New York Times, review the week’s news, offering analysis and maybe a joke or two about the most important developments in the tech industry. Mr. Manjoo is still off this week, so Quentin Hardy, a Times technology reporter, is filling in.

Mike: So, sticking with the theme of hype but perhaps inching away from the whole failure aspect, I want to talk about Facebook. This week at F8, Facebook’s developer conference, Mark Zuckerbergbasically took to the stage to lay out the next 15 years of how he thinks the world will — or at least should — play out, technologically speaking.

We had 360-degree open-source cameras. We had the bot revolution. We had antennas connecting the unconnected. It’s all sort of smoke and mirrors right now, but Facebook at least seems to be making this real much faster than anyone would have ever thought.

I mean, Zuck had guys on stage taking selfies inside a virtual reality environment — the most harrowing part of which was that there is such a thing as a “V.R. selfie stick.”

But I digress. Facebook seems pretty optimistic on this future. Are you?

Quentin: This is optimism with a lot of focus, too. Facebook may have had some smoke, but it held the mirrors up to itself: Facebook is now sending 60 billion messages a day, three times mobile phone SMS traffic at its peak. People are watching hours of video a day, and the camera will make cheap virtual reality videos a likelihood. I think Zuck purposely told the world precisely where he wants to be in 10 years so the developers can get him there in seven. Google and Microsoft before him used outside developers to get huge — it’s that playbook again.

Mike: I’m particularly interested in the technology they will use to make me not look like a complete goober while I’m using virtual reality. I figure that’s at least 50 years out.

Quentin: It’s amazing how far along V.R. is, when (ahem) virtually no one is using it yet, besides a few gamers. Yet Microsoft had interesting demos of its Hololens goggles. HTC, the Taiwanese phone maker that crashed in smartphones, is counting on V.R. gear for a revival. The Times is doing stuff close to V.R., with the aid of Google Cardboard. Facebook is even hiring anthropologists to figure out the right body language of avatars. There must be something there.

Mike: Yeah, I guess.

What I was told by someone who knows Zuck well is that he is particularly driven to “own the next platform,” and that he believes virtual reality is it.

Look at the smartphone, the unquestionably dominant platform of contemporary society, for instance. Apple and Google have divvied up that platform all to themselves, and it has been unbelievably lucrative for their respective businesses. Amazon, Microsoft, even Facebook all tried — and failed — to compete for a measly third-place seat at the table. That chance is gonezo.

So what does Zuck do? He goes for what he thinks the next platform will be and tries to own it before anyone really even uses it. It will take years to seed, and many factors for it to go mainstream. But I think he’s probably right in that it’s going to be similar to how we use consumer tech today — perhaps it will become our next console, like the Xbox, if not a more integral part of our daily lives, like the smartphone.

Quentin: It will take years, but I think that was why he delivered a keynote that was pretty precise about the next 10 years, then backed it up with stuff in artificial intelligence, networking and devices that showed where they are focused. He’s hoping if lots of outsiders get interested and start working on this, it will happen faster. Ten years turns into six or seven.



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