Facebook have announced a new streaming technology for their VR platform and the creation of a ‘social VR’ team which will explore how VR can be developed for use beyond the games industry.
‘Dynamic streaming’ is a new way for Facebook to deliver 360 videos, which concentrates the highest image quality only where a viewer is actually looking, reducing the overall need for bandwidth by delivering a lower quality image to the peripheral view point. This from their blog;
‘To make this work, we create dozens of variants for every 360 video that gets uploaded to Facebook, each tailored to a specific viewing angle, and then as you watch the video, we rapidly adjust which variant we display based on where you’re looking. By doing this, we’ve quadrupled the resolution quality of 360 streaming video in VR by reducing the amount of required network bandwidth by 4x — so videos look clearer and play faster.’
The new social VR team will concentrate on development for social interaction between users. Facebook sees this investment as the next logical next step of its strategy to connect users through its chat apps and messaging platforms. This from Zuckerberg (as reported by Wired) as he announced the company’s plans at Samsung’s Mobile World Congress event;
“Pretty soon we’re going to live in a world where everyone has the power to share and experience whole scenes as if you’re just there, right there in person. Imagine being able to sit in front of a campfire and hang out with friends anytime you want. Or being able to watch a movie in a private theatre with your friends anytime you want. Imagine holding a group meeting or event anywhere in the world that you want.”
From elsewhere in the virtual world comes news of investment from Google too. VentureBeat.com report that Google is developing a new VR headset;
‘Google is apparently working on a virtual reality headset that, unlike its Cardboard platform, will have no need for a smartphone — or a high-powered PC or gaming console, for that matter.’
Techcrunch reports that an upgraded View-Master Google Cardboard headset is being released by Mattel.
And here is an invaluable article from Journalism.co.uk on telling stories in 360 degrees.