back to article Is Facebook about to get a Virtual Reality check?

“I’m incredibly bullish on virtual reality,” Facebook’s chief technology officer Mark Schroepfer tells The Reg. No surprise there, then. “But it’s a brand new platform that will start slow and take a while to develop,” he continued on a brief stop-over in London late last year. “Part of the thing we are trying to avoid that’s …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I’m paid to be incredibly bullish on virtual reality. It’s a brand new platform that will start slow and then never develop".

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Zuckerberg, please bet the company on it ;-)

    As for adoption, eBay/ Amazon would probably encourage faster adoption.


    Couch potato with former acquaintances vs handling and examining items in detail before buying.

    I know which one I'd regard as the killer app.

  3. BoldMan

    My prediction: Lots of hype, lots of vapourware, no product.

    VR is a solution looking for a problem. People have too much invested in RR* to be bothered with VR. Who in their right mind will accept at face value the estate agent's VR tour of a new house? We all know how truthful Estate Agents are, so giving them a tool where they can bamboozle the punter with "Fake" Reality will not cause any problems at all will it?

    * Real Reality of course

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not necessarily vapourware. With the correct application of DevOps they could probably pinch one out.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My prediction

      My prediction is that Virtual Reality will be as huge as it's precursor, 3-D TV!!!!

    3. Hargrove

      BoldMan's predictions:

      Spot on, BoldMan.

      Other predictions:

      1. Despite all hopes and promises to the contrary, Shannon's law will not be repealed. Real networks will have real latency and real bandwidth limits.

      2. With 1. will come that marvelous real experience, a form of particularly acute motion sickness known as "simulator sickness."

      3. American humorist Dave Barry is right. People are idiots. In reality people (they know who they are) will Sext and drive.

      4. Crime will skyrocket as law enforcement officials called to the scenes of accidents caused by the inevitable combination on 2. and 3. quit en masse saying "I'm willing to die to defend and protect, but I didn't sign up for this."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "I'm willing to die to defend and protect, but I didn't sign up for this."

        The defend-and-protect policemen have all been mustered out or sent into early retirement.

        At least in the USA, only bullies with a chip on their shoulder are hired for the force, since the Rockefellers, Warburgs, Soros's etc know they will need to rely on a ruthless force with a complete lack of empathy, to protect them from the population they have robbed blind and into starvation.

  4. Chez

    So, empty buzzwords then?

    I can barely understand what he's saying. Something something advertisers something streaming video? I've already got a Rift DK2, and the only things I'd want to use VR for would be games, possibly a monitor replacement if someone can whip together a nifty HUD, and flying a drone from VR - if I had the kind of money needed for such a fancy drone in the first place.

    Beyond these, and porn, I just can't see any real potential for VR. And it's irritating, because if it bubbles and then pops, the handful of VR uses I actually care about are going to take a hit.

  5. Tromos


    The anagram is missing a 't'.

  6. Spiracle

    On each of the three occasions that I've donned an Occulus I've felt as sick as a dog after five minutes, so the bathroom might be a better bet than the living room.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      On each of the three occasions that I've donned an Occulus I've felt as sick as a dog after five minutes, so the bathroom might be a better bet than the living room.

      Well, that ought to make at least virtual boat trips more realistic, or they could sell it as Top Gear's Chris Evans virtual Nurnberg Circuit, when driven by Sabine Schmitz :)

    2. tiggity Silver badge

      A not uncommon reaction apparently.

      On R4 Today (this morning, Tue), JH was regaling his nauseous experience trying VR headsets when it came up as a "news item" (I say news, a bit of vacuous spiel by BBC IT "reporter" Rory CJ.)

  7. adnim

    I am sure

    that sheep will be fleeced. Happens all the time... Hype, the new old ambrosia

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It does fit Facebook, though.

    Zuckerberg does live in his own reality, so I'm not surprised he's attracted to this.

  9. Chris G

    End point

    "Gaming and entertainment are one of the first opportunities for VR – not the end point."

    No. I'm sure the endpoint will be VS Virtual Sex so good you can't tell the difference, unless they develop something like the virtual holidays from American Dad where you have to go in the goo.

    Can't see Fartbook managing a Holosuite anytime soon.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: End point

      VR Headset, DOAX & an A10 piston.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On the subject of VR, google and Android

    Google+ might get some subscribers, unlike Zuckerberg they have youtube and a broadcasting platform for VR.

  12. Sureo

    What I really want

    Don't bother with VR. What I really want (besides an end to annoying Facebook) is a Holodeck. Back to the drawing board, fellas...

  13. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    20 years of VR* juuust before it's final breakthrough**

    30 years of the paperless office juuust before it's final breakthrough

    60 years of AI juuust before it's final breakthrough

    *anyone still remember the cybersex-hype from the 1990ies?

    **I've said it before and I'll say it again: the biggest obstacle to VR's success is still that you look like a dick using it

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You missed 50 years till nuclear fusion makes electricity too cheap to meter.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        I thought the to-cheap-to-meter leccy came from the fission plants already? Oh, right...

  14. ntevanza

    anyone have small children?

    FB is just building options and playing around. They happen to be doing it in public.

    FB's power is that they dominate people's spare time in a way that no online activity has ever managed. This was the promise of 1999, until it became clear that there were only 24 hours in the day and people weren't spending them at a monitor and keyboard. Now they spend that extra time on a handheld FB client.

    "Wider society has subtle issues of gender diversity, age and salary disparities that must be negotiated."

    FB owns women's and poor people's time too. The silent demographic here is parents with small children. These are the time poorest people in the rich world. They go to work to rest. They aren't in the game, literally. To them, talk of gaming vs VR is a distant irrelevance. However, somehow, they are still on FB. That is interesting.

  15. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    John Humphrys tries virtual reality for the first time

    "Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg says Virtual Reality is “going to change the way we live and work and communicate".

    Today presenter John Humphrys dons a VR headset for the first time to find out what the fuss is about - and goes on stage with rock band Kasabian in the process."

    Radio 4 - "Today" Tuesday 23/02 0810-0821

    Also, the short clip he mentions is here


    According to the chap JH interviews from "London's Silicon Valley", we need VR to experience what life is like for a refugee. (Looks like MSF has been blowing some of their budget not on medicines, but a VR promo).

    Yep, let's all don VR headsets and get herded into a leaking, overcrowded boat and then experience getting drowned.

  16. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    They're probably being realistic.

    I know some people thought the new age of VR was a 300 pound headset, bung it into your PC, job done.

    The reality is 500 (Oculus) - 700+ (Vive) quid on the headset, then for most people at the very least 300+ quid on a new graphics card, but probably a new system (800 quid plus). Running two displays at 1080x1200 at a *minimum* of 90fps does not come cheap.

    Computing has finally found something a bit more mass market than high end video editing and scientific and engineering analysis to stretch a system (gaming hasn't needed really high end systems for years, due to being held back by consoles). If Intel and Nvidia have any sense, they'll be marketing the Broadwell-E chips release, and Nvidia's new architecture in Q2/Q3 as ideal for VR. You'll need all the power you can get..

    1. Hargrove

      Re: They're probably being realistic.

      "If Intel and Nvidia have any sense, they'll be marketing the Broadwell-E chips release, and Nvidia's new architecture in Q2/Q3 as ideal for VR. You'll need all the power you can get."

      Virtual reality in high end simulation has, to some extent, been a target market of the chip manufacturers for a couple of decades. And as Binky. etc. rightly notes, the need for all the computational performance you can get has been a driving function.

      The idea of virtual reality tele-presence, is a completely different application. No amount of computational performance at the node is going to compensate for network latency and bandwidth.

      I've not tracked the field for several years, but my suspicion is that even for telerobotics, where you can have dedicated data links, there are tradeoffs that militate against the use of immersive VR in real R.

  17. LaunchpadBS


    Will soon be a reality! But will Hiro be around to save us?

  18. NomNomNom

    VR taking on is much more plausible than driverless cars.

    This is probably the step to establishing VR as a thing you can buy. After that there is probably going to be a new moore's law for immersion, with every few years bringing improvements in resolution, headset weight, controllers, etc and of course cost. I wouldn't be surprised to see devices for other sensory inputs such as touch, smell, being introduced too. At some point the level of immersion will reach a point where it hooks enough people to lead to a culture shift where people become glued inside the internet instead of being glued to screens looking into it. The resulting network will probably have a different name (VRnet?) to distinguish it from the internet.

  19. ciderbuddy

    Currently studying VR

    I am studying VR as part of my BSc Computer Science and her in Salford we have a full VR "octave room" - think VR Cave but much bigger (floor screens the lot).

    What is interesting is my lecturer has actually moved his office to health and a lot of research at present is in the field of mental health. I know of at least one student who is using VR to study the effects of VR in therapy for people who have lost limbs for example.

    It did make me smile seeing the comments in the article on "What can we do with VR", as Second Life was a disaster and even though computers have evolved, I don't think the failing their was just low tech.

    Currently I am conducting an experiment involving fear of heights using VR and immersion is still key to VR's success.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Iain M Banks

    "people can connect and share using today’s VR technology"

    This reminds me immediately of the grubby things that citizens of "the culture" get up to in virtual reality in Bank's sci-fi books.

  21. gmathol

    I don't use Facebook and I would recommend that parents should not publish the pictures of their children on that platform. I also run software which completely disables Facebook software from running in my browser.

    US has a big problem - it is trust. Companies like Facebook and Google syphon meta data and sell them to all kinds of customers or put you in a swamp of advertisement.

  22. Rob Gr

    "Gaming, as ever, is the first port of call for this chapter in tech and Facebook at MWC hailed “more than” 200 games and apps on the Oculus store and running on Gear VR."

    Er... not really, I remember back around 1990 going to a VR conference and being offered work at British Aerospace working on VR systems, but turning the work down because they were experimenting with designing missile guidance systems utilising VR.

    As with most tech, the bleeding edge is military, games is just the first wave of the consumer part, making it affordable tech.

  23. zen1


    "“Facebook wants to build a device that allows you to be anywhere you want, with anyone, regardless of geographic boundaries,” he’d told the Dublin Web Summit." - has he never heard of a TV? Or maybe a computer? Both of them take me places I could never go now... I know I know... how 20th century of me...

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