Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of social media giant Facebook, has become more and more vocal around the company’s virtual and augmented reality plans of late. He took to the stage at Oculus’ recent developer conference ‘Connect’ and now he’s waxing all enthusiastic about his latest experiences using Oculus’ proprietrary dedicated VR motion controllers, Touch and the sandbox recently revealed to the public Toybox.
Facebook acquired Oculus last year for $2.5bn and since that time seemed to be very cautious not to get too involved in the virtual reality company’s public image, reinforcing Facebook’s ethos that acquired companies, Instagram and WhatsApp included as prime examples, should be largely left to their own devices. It was a smart move, especially in the face of the up-swell of negative press and community reactions that came in the wake of the move.
Fears that Facebook branded, advertising riddled VR experiences reached their height a few days after the announcement and it looked for a short while that the entire thing could turn out to be somewhat of a PR disaster. Of course, it wasn’t. People calmed down and when the haters realised that with Facebook behind Oculus, the chances of compelling consumer VR happening actually took a significant leap, it was generally acknowledged as a very good thing for all involved.
However, as Oculus moves into gear preparing to move from quirky startup to company delivering some of the first consumer-ready virtual reality hardware, Facebook is becoming an important anchor of recognition in recent, ever more high profile press events and conferences.
At Oculus Connect 2, the company’s second developer focussed conference, held in Hollywood last month, Mark Zuckerberg made a surprise appearance to remind everyone why he was so excited about VR and why he personally was so invested in its success.
Now, Zuckerberg has taken to his open to the social media platform he invented to share his enthusiasm for Oculus’ latest innovation in VR controller technology, Oculus Touch. Referring to the Oculus Touch demonstration sandbox application Toybox, the Facebook CEO says “The craziest Oculus experience I’ve had recently is playing ping pong in virtual reality. You feel like you’re right there with your friend even though they may be halfway around the world,” continuing “And not only can you hit the ball back and forth, but you can turn gravity up and down to simulate completely different worlds — outer space, under water and so on.” And in a nod and a wink to why Facebook’s traditional social enterprises may well dovetail so well with virtual reality in the future he concludes “What’s really amazing is sharing these experiences with your friends. We’re getting closer.”