Oculus announced today some changes that it will be making to its Gear VR system. The changes include more stuff to keep people entertained, a better library and a big new Facebook feature.
The Facebook-owned company is trying to make more people use Virtual Reality at any moment of the day, using their smartphones. Oculus created the Gear VR, which is $99, to be powered using certain Samsung smartphones. The Gear VR is less expensive than the Oculus Rift, which requires a high-end computer. Even though Oculus Rift may be more appealing, it demands more attention. That is why the mobile virtual reality headset may bring virtual reality to a mainstream audience.
The company also said that panoramas people take could be an important part of the Virtual Reality content. These photos could be taken using iPhones running iOS 6 or later, and Android running v4.2 or later, which mean people should not need more.
The platform has more than 250 apps available and, Eugene Wei, Oculus head of video, says that seven of the 10 most popular apps are for watching videos.
Since 360 videos are already supported, panorama photos should be easier to create, and people should catch on more quickly.
Samsung Gear VR last month was tried one million times
Samsung Gear VR, the virtual reality headset that uses Oculus software to surface games and videos, was tried over one million times last month, according to the company. 80 percent of people who tried on the headset used it to watch videos. Max Cohen, Oculus’ head of mobile, also said that people who use the virtual reality system spend an average of 25 minutes on the headset.
It still needs to be determined how many people tried and used the virtual reality headset, since it is unknown how many people are trying it for the first time, and how many are coming back to try the headset again after their first time.
Facebook’s new feature
Facebook will allow people to upload panoramas that people usually take on iPhones, Google Photospheres, or photos from 360 cameras like the Ricoh Theta S and the Gear 360. The social media app will morph them into 360 Photos on a new version of its News Feed. People will be able to hold and drag the photo to see it all.
At the same time, Oculus and Facebook combined, and those who have the Gear VR headset will be able to move their heads to look around.
Oculus is trying to give people more to do in VR
Oculus is trying to prove that virtual reality is not just for gamers, which is why is creating the new Facebook feature. But also, Oculus is launching today a new series of virtual reality videos called Nomads.
The company is trying to make more serious content, such as films and documentaries. It was created by Felix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphael. The series show three different parts of the planet, and let people see how others experience different cultures. The places are the Mongolia, guided by a group of yak herders, the Maasai tribe in Kenya, and the Malay Archipelago with Borneo’s Bajau tribe. Each video is around 12 minutes long.
Also, David Attenborough, the narrator of Life and Planet Earth, will be doing a series on ancient species called First Life.
Oculus new library
The platform is changing its Home on Gear VR, so it can be easier for people to navigate and find what they want. The mobile app will get a “What’s New” section, which will have the most recent content
Oculus is paying people to use their platform with the intention of getting as many people as possible. These people are hired to help the company build Rift and Gear VR’s libraries, as well as trying to make them as big as possible for users.
The 360 photos from the new Facebook feature will be collected in a section of the Oculus 360 Photo App, and people will be able to explore from the headset.
Source: ABC News