By now, it’s pretty clear Facebook is serious about leading virtual and augmented reality. Further underling Facebook’s bet that immersive technologies are the future of computing, a report from The Information claims that the company is currently employing nearly 10,000 people to work on AR/VR.

The report maintains this number accounts for a staggering one-fifth of Facebook’s total workforce worldwide. According to info obtained by Statista, the company has doubled in staff size since 2017, ballooning to around 58,000 employees in 2020.

Granted, the report doesn’t go into specifics; the 10k number likely reflects a wide range of devices and services outside of Oculus Quest, its Project Aria AR efforts, and its Ray-Ban smartglasses built in cooperation with Luxottica.

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Teams dedicated to research, development, manufacturing, communications, public relations—all of the trappings required of a company of Facebook’s size may likely be in play in the 10k count. This would also include projects like Portal, its development into AI, and even first-party VR game studios like Sanzaru, Beat Games, and Ready at Dawn.

Supposing its true, none of this really comes as a surprise. Facebook has been very forward with its intentions to own the space since acquiring Oculus in 2014 for $2 billions. Following the subsequent incorporation of its VR brand Oculus into the mothership, it opened Facebook Reality Labs, the company’s AR/VR skunkworks. At the time of this writing, Facebook Reality Labs has over 800 open jobs spanning augmented reality, virtual reality, brain-computer interfaces, and artificial intelligence.

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  • xyzs

    It’s more than the amount of people regularly checking news on this site which is number one in this field o_O

    I guess it takes a lot of engineers to include facebook inside the QuestOS software ( and maybe we don’t know… hardware ).

  • Ad

    This needs to set off alarm bells for people. Oculus is long dead and it’s just a sticker label on this very different animal. This isn’t just for games, Facebook is not dedicating so many resources without some truly grotesque plans in the future, and they’re not going to share this medium with anyone. Zuck said he doesn’t want to make any money on software, knocking down the last myth that powered people turning their heads. The DoJ needs to get involved.

  • kontis

    If there isn’t a big player with good HMD with freedom similar to win32 then it’s the game over for freedom of personal computation once HMD can replace a gaming and creator PC. Expensive pro workstations will be used by tiny number of people.

    The irony here is that the platform created by the infamously evil tech corp of the 90s (Microsoft and their Embrace, Extend, Extinguish) is currently the savior of personal computing, instead of Linux, which in personal market is only relevant on Android and that’s practically just another digital monopoly world (of Google Play).
    Good thing Microsoft’s walled garden failed.

    The kids born after the iPhone 1 will never understand it and will think walled gardens and their Orwellian TOS is how the digital world is supposed to work. The Fortnite on iOS debacle already proved that kids basically demand this status quo to be undisrupted.

    Then those kids get older, make their own business that rely on the mercy of Orwellian TOS to exist and don’t even think for a second that a different “timeline” could exist.

    • Ad

      It is amazing how Microsoft is the savior of open computing, although there’s talk of them adopting a more mac like approach when they shift to arm.

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    • Mr Richard Thomson

      The biggest irony here is the people were saying all these things about Microsoft back then and guess what it was all just hyperbole from paranoid anti corporate people and here we are 20byears later with paranoid anti corporate people praising them and saying that this corp is now the big bad…

      See you in 20 years when your praising FB as a beacon of openness compared to {insert name of future corp here}

  • TechPassion

    This is amazing if it is true. Facebook is the only company pushing VR forward like it should be. HP is doing a great job for VR with the Reverb G2. I own G2.

    • ” HP is doing a great job for VR with the Reverb G2.”

      Reverb G2 was a collaboration between HP, Valve and Microsoft. Credit where credit is due…

  • Kevin White

    Quite a journey from Palmer Luckey and the DK1 (which turns 8 years old two weeks from Monday). Facebook is dominating. FB will be synonymous with VR. Ben, time to change the URL to http://www.roadtofacebook.

  • martin

    All Hail Zuck and The Surveillance State!

  • 10,000 people is an impressive number. It shows why it will be difficult for other smaller companies to compete with FB

    • Billy Jackson

      partially true.. but you have a solid point, big companies rarely innovate, while Facebook may set the standard for VR for a bit, they will continue to slowly progress to keep that pipe line open for the cash it brings in.. at some point someone will take that same technology and run it as an open platform and then we will see the mod communities become involved which is what has driven gaming for the last 15+ years. That being said i fully acknowledge that the big companies have their place or we wouldn’t get the mass VR we will need to push adoption rates for this tech..

      • silvaring

        It’s not about the size of the company though is it…. if the technology can’t scale yet then it just cant scale. It’s like suddenly expecting everyone to be a gamer when we are still playing with thumbstick controllers and 2D screens… not gonna happen.

  • Proust

    Sounds about right. Must be lots of user camera and microphone data to sift through

    • silvaring

      Nah they leave that to the third parties… facebook is just the collection agency.