Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg | Photo courtesy Facebook
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg | Photo courtesy Facebook

Facebook’s 2017 F8 developer conference has seven scheduled sessions dedicated to VR. The company’s annual two-day event is dedicated to exploring the future of Facebook’s family of apps and services (including Oculus), and how businesses and developers can leverage them.

With sessions covering topics such as research, analytics and artificial intelligence, as well as their major acquisitions Instagram and WhatsApp, Facebook has scheduled seven sessions relating to Virtual Reality. Since their purchase of Oculus in 2014, Facebook has attempted to methodically ease itself into the space, with the ultimate vision of social networking in VR. In the last 12 months, the Facebook brand has become increasingly visible and involved with the Oculus subsidiary.

Facebook Teases "breakthrough technologies" Coming to New Oculus Products, Tours R&D Lab

Although CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently posted pictures of himself testing new hardware technologies in the Oculus Research lab, which highlights their long-term commitment to the medium, the essential focus in the short term is content. Looking through the list of VR-related sessions at F8, it is clear that Facebook is encouraging creativity, and ensuring developers are hitting the right notes for social features, intelligent narrative design, and building cross-platform content for the web.

F8 takes place at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, starting April 18th. Oculus and virtual reality are expected to be key part of the conference’s keynotes, and the further VR session schedule follows:

Tuesday, April 18

Crafting Compelling Narratives in VR

Sit down with best-in-class VR filmmakers to learn what it takes to create amazing VR experiences. Whether you’re working on a 360 video or real-time rendered content, these tips will help you to understand best practices from the cutting edge of VR.

WebVR: Enabling Developers to Build Engaging Cross-Platform VR Content

Web-based frameworks such as React VR are making it easier than ever to create VR content that can be distributed across VR, mobile, and web. Join us as we showcase the potential of React VR across verticals such as travel, news, commerce, and more.

Bringing VR Experiences to Everyone: Scripting, Producing and Planning

Learn how to develop a VR experience, and take a project from creative idea to a piece ready for prime time. Gain best practices and tips and tricks for producing experiences, how to approach acting and directing in VR, and distribution.

VR Together: Adding Social Components to Your VR Apps

Interactive and fun social experiences foster greater consumer engagement in VR. This talk will focus on the APIs and features that Oculus provides to add a social layer to your app, including the Avatar SDK, VoIP, Invites, and Oculus Rooms.

Wednesday, April 19

Creating Social Presence in VR

Achieving social presence in VR presents a host of fascinating challenges, from designing avatars that avoid the “uncanny valley” to determining what kind of tools and spaces best facilitate interaction.

VR 201: Lessons from the Frontlines of VR Gaming

We will share some of the roadblocks that engineers will encounter as they ramp up in VR development with practical lessons and case studies to overcome them. Attendees can expect insights on everything from code samples to tools to design tips.

React VR: Build amazing VR experiences using React

Learn how React VR builds upon React Native, and how the supporting layers and libraries interact. We will take you through a sample VR web app built with React VR, and show how easy it is to create immersive experiences across VR, mobile, and web.

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  • facedesk

    Looks like they are moving more and more toward mobile vr.

    • Xron

      And thats what can kill vr… atleast for me and I guess lots of others will see it in negative light.
      I do not think mobile vr will be interesting for atleast 5 more years, it just doesn’t have the power to make nice games, apps, experiences. Heck even pc can’t today… for the most part. And mobile market wont get anywhere near it for atleast 5/10 years…
      Damn, can’t they evolve pc side first, to show people how amazing vr can be? Now they are making laughable 360 videos as experiences on gear vr that look like crap most of the time -.-

      • Justos

        I have to disagree with you. With power alone, no it wont compare.

        But the biggest thing holding back mobile VR is positional tracking. Once that is solved, fuck this tethered HMD even with better graphics. Its tied to my room, its tied to external sensors. An all in one solution would definitely make me switch from PCVR in an instant.

        Gaming is not all about graphics, and mobile VR has proved that it can create very compelling experiences.

        We also have the problem of motion controllers. Im sure theyre working on something.

        • Xron

          Having pixelated surroundings around you brings us to 1990 ;)
          Well, as I said before, it might work for some, but for me and I guess lots of others it will still look like a joke ;(

          • Justos

            Pixelation is a 360 video problem. mobile VR is better than you think

        • user

          how do you solve controller tracking without external sensors?

      • 12Danny123

        Lets be honest. Thethered VR even with wireless HMD is NOT the future and is not going to make VR mainstream.

        The future is Standalone and Mobile VR. Every companies knows this hence why you big companies investing in standalone.

        The fact that Valve requires people to buy an expensive setup, an expensive VR headset and also external sensors is a terrible setup for average users. But SteamVR isn’t an OS but an application on top of Desktop OS, so it’ll be very hard for Valve to scale beyond tethered/wireless PC VR

        • Xron

          You guys are mixing AR with VR… :)
          Ar will be top dog in your mobilish future, and Vr will be for pc’s.
          How do they say master race?
          So pc vr = master race, mobilish – plebeians.
          Jokes aside, I dont see any big advantage for vr to go to mobile as main, except that you can bring your device wherever you want to. But it will lack power to give me any decent experience for 5+years…

  • Max Cheung

    oculus is dead for VR gaming…

    • Mike

      You need to tell 2017 and 2018 that…

    • Get Schwifty!

      Considering most of the better VR titles are out for and being produced for Oculus that’s a hard thing to take seriously. What I do agree with is they have got to take room scale more seriously. While it won’t necessarily be the benchmark for the masses, it is for a very vocal group and a perception issue in the industry, and in time it will be something people will come to expect since Vive is pressing so hard on it.

      • Max Cheung

        But it is useless if oculus doesn’t care of vr gaming, even the game devs do

        • Justos

          Oculus is funding more $$$ than anyone period into games. How are they “dead” exactly? Because they’re having tracking issues? Or because their huge team is also working on mobile? I have a giant library on home and it is only growing with even higher quality titles.

  • RipVoid

    This is why I criticize them. For months now, the hand writing has been on the wall that they could not or would not compete for serious gaming. Unfortunately, the vast majority of their early adopters are gamers and with this announcement they have been officially abandoned.

    Rift owners can look forward to ‘compelling’ VR experiences plastered with ads and shopping while having their every turn of the head recorded for eternity.

  • indi01

    very predictable, they will focus on mobile and social stuff and quietly phase out the high end gaming aspect.

    • Xron

      Moblie devices do not have power to achieve some decent experiences. If all companies will go that way, vr will be just another fad and we will have to wait for 5+ years more.

      • indi01

        Not all companies will go this way. Watch the valve VR interview, they are very much committed to the high end.

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