During the Oculus Connect 4 keynote today, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed a new VR experience in development called Oculus Venues, described as a way to view live sports, concerts, and other live events in VR with friends and strangers alike.

Zuckerberg’s opening speech reinforced his views about VR’s ability to ‘create opportunities for everyone’, and his newly announced long-term goal of getting 1 billion people into VR (on an unspecified timeline). Cost of entry is a major hurdle, which is being addressed with price cuts to existing hardware and a low-cost standalone headset coming early next year, but Facebook’s main focus continues to be on improving the social VR experience.

Image courtesy Oculus

One of their new social VR projects, releasing next year, is Oculus Venues, a way of viewing live events in VR with multiple virtual participants. “Venues lets you watch live concerts and live sports, and premieres of movies and TV shows all around the world with your friends and with thousands of other people at the same time,” said Zuckerberg on stage. “It’s another example of how VR is going to bring us closer together in ways that might not be possible in the physical world.”

On the Oculus blog the company specified “up to 1,000” people for simultaneous viewing. The very brief footage shown during the keynote appeared to show a live concert captured with a VR/360 camera, but then it transitioned to flat footage of the concert in front of many virtual avatars watching together in a virtual arena. The company says they’ll share more on Oculus Venues in the next few months.

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  • Sky Castle

    Aside from connection issues, I’d like to see how they handle keeping 1,000 people to behave and not act like jackasses by runing the experience for everyone else.

    • kalqlate

      In the Oculus Venues paradigm, “experiencing with” probably means just seeing heads moving in the same virtual environment, no talking to other people or moving about within the venue. Pretty much like what you see in the example image at the top of the page.

  • Foreign Devil

    Call me antisocial but I’d rather just see the immersive stereoscopic performance up close full screen than on a screen far away with a bunch of noisy kids on their rifts. VR is supposed to replace the negative aspects of movie theaters.

    • Get Schwifty!

      I agree. it’s the same reason I often would rather watch a movie at home than sit in a theater where idiots are turning their phones to sext their friends every 5 minutes or don’t turn their phones to silent mode. Just seeing a bunch of bobbing avatar heads doesn’t add anything to the experience.

  • Alexisms

    No one wants this! They tried this idiocy in Playstation Home.
    All you’re doing is separating the event from the viewer by one more degree. Ie. watching a concert on TV is one degree because you’re not there. Watching thru oculus is 2 because you’re watching thru the oculus first and then the concert within that.
    FFS they need to get their heads out of their arse :-(

    • WyrdestGeek

      You might be right.

      But isn’t it great that it’s Zuckerberg that’s burning money on this instead of some poor startup that can’t afford to get it wrong?

      If it tanks, no biggie. In the unlikely outcome that people do want it after all, that’s great too.

    • Mac

      It’s not replacing the actual concert going experience. Instead of watching a 2d stream in your web browser, wouldn’t you rather be immersed in a 180/360 stereo stream with the option of having your friends there to enjoy it with?

      The difference between this and something like Playstation Home or Second Life is that your screen is your actual point of view, not a rectangle on a wall. It basically removes that “degree” as you mention.

    • Facts

      I want it,I personally believe that it’s the social apps like this that will allow vr to take off and adopt by the masses, I see Zuckerberg idea.

  • Anfronie

    Please please please bring this to the current Rift!