Video: Watch Mark Zuckerberg Demo Facebook’s Latest Social VR Prototype


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took the stage at Oculus Connect, the company’s annual developer conference, to show off Facebook’s latest social VR prototype.

Zuckerberg toured the newest features of the app including more lifelike avatars complete with facial expressions triggered by audio and hand gestures using Touch, Oculus’s soon-to-release hand controllers.

Going through a number of 360 photos and 360 video as backdrop to demo, the three played cards, chess, and fought with swords.

Selfies in VR: Facebook Reveals Social VR Prototype

Looking down at his virtual watch, Zuckerberg then demonstrated the newest addition to the app, a call feature through Facebook messenger that lets you make video calls between the virtual and real world.

There’s no word on release date for the app yet, but one thing is for sure: Facebook didn’t buy a VR company, it’s becoming one.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • Get Schwifty!

    “There’s no word on release date for the app yet, but one thing is for sure: Facebook didn’t buy a VR company, it’s becoming one.”

    And that was the whole point – you don’t make a 2 billion dollar investment in a technology without a serious vision in mind to integrate tech into your existing company.

    I don’t like all the privacy nonsense issues surrounding Facebook either, nor the misguided (however overstated) walled-garden moves recently, but there is no denying that Facebook/Oculus is pushing VR and providing strong backing and vision to the industry. For all the crapping that goes on about room scale and applications in the short term, the long term players, notably Facebook/Oculus are very committed and deserve some credit for pushing the industry forward and not depending just on the Sony PSVR to make or break acceptance of VR. Making VR palatable via Social Media’s acceptance is really a cunning way to get people into it, rather than gambling on games which only go so far.

  • Firestorm185

    You know, a Drawn to Life game where you could use Touch to draw weapons like the one guy did in that demo and then fight virtual enemies or other players with would be sweet.

  • Foreign Devil

    This is really selling me on the Rift. A way to connect with distant family and friends in the future.

  • VR Geek

    OMFG. Mark’s office is classic 1950’s. LMAO

  • Rob Walker

    The demo pointed out that the avatar can convey emotion of laughter and surprise, but not how. I’m guesing its using audio cues, hence the reason his surprised look was accompanied with a very distinct audible “huh?”. If that’s the case, then that may be the only canned sets of emotions the app can display.

    • Get Schwifty!

      I think this is some kind of sequence with the Touch controllers and possibly almost certainly some kind of camera-based facial recognition too. I can’t see just audio being enough context to drive emotional expression, but it will be interesting to see how it breaks down… the more I see I think the reason Oculus went the camera route has to do with the the flexibility it gives and why they weren’t so focused on room scale via a Lighthouse clone, but the incorporation of cameras. They might suffer in the context of room scale a bit, but give much more in terms of flexibility otherwise.

  • elyse

    This is amazing

  • Craig

    So they are watching a 360 video together, except that wouldn’t really work.

    The issue I have is there is only one view point for 360 video so from each individuals perspective they are in the same spot with a sphere around there head. meaning that the people you are sharing with aren’t actually occupying a 3D space with you.

    This will cause quite a few problems firstly if you are actually reacting and pointing to things, as they were, for others this wont line up unless the object is far away enough.

    The second problem is that if anything comes close enough to the camera that it would be between or in the same space as someone you are watching the video with their avatar will always be rendered above the video because the video is just a sphere. This would at best look really weird, and at worst make you feel very ill.

    Speaking of ill, if there is lateral movement with respect to other avatars, which it looked like there was, 360 video just cant do lateral movement so there would be a disconnect. Then if the camera in the 360 scene is moving on top of this…. not good

    Finally the selfie stick. Again there is only one fixed camera view point in a 360 scene, so it would have to take this same point of view and again have no lateral movement with respect to the video… I just cant see it working. Plus this is just technical stuff there are a whole bunch of social issues that come with VR and they will need to address these too.

    I like what they are trying to do in general making VR social is a no-brainer, but this needs to be a really comfortable experience if people are going to treat it as a way to socialise. I could see this working a lot better for a 3D rendered space, or volumetric video but not 360.

  • Rob Walker

    Oculus released a vid ‘Social VR: A discussion with Mike Booth’ on Youtube several days ago which exlains it.

    They will use touch gestures to trigger the emote, e.g. two hands on your face = surprise, two hands on your head = anger, etc.