This technology allows significant performance upgrades to streaming content by only playing back what’s in view of the headset at any given time rather than processing the entire 360 sphere of video at once. All of this is done by effortlessly switching between dozens of variants of each 360 video taken from multiple angles. “By doing this, we’ve quadrupled the resolution quality of 360 streaming video in VR, while reducing the amount of required bandwidth by four times,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “So videos look clearer and play faster.”
Facebook has also furnished some new figures with this announcement. According to the social networking giant, more than 200 games are now available in the Oculus store, and Gear VR owners have consumed more than a million hours of VR video to date. Promising figures, especially as it drives pre-orders for the consumer Rift.
The whole idea behind this new initiative is to explore the “future of social interaction in VR.” The team is led by Mike Booth, best known as the designer of Left 4 Dead, and Daniel James, which worked on a multiplayer online game called Puzzle Pirates. The nature of their work is a little unclear, but Facebook says it’s about helping people “connect and share.”
Facebook and Samsung partnering together can only mean good things for both companies right now. With Oculus’s Rift hitting shelves at $599 and requiring a solid gaming PC to boot, chances are slim that many will have immediate access to that brand of virtual reality. The $99 Gear VR, on the other hand, is bound to be the first step in getting consumers excited.