OC4: Facebook Wants To Get 1 Billion People Into VR

by Jamie Feltham • October 12th, 2017

Facebook’s Oculus had plenty of new announcements to make at its fourth Connect developer conference yesterday, but it all started with an ambitious goal set by CEO Mark Zuckerberg: to get one billion people into VR.

Zuckerberg set this lofty ambition at the beginning of yesterday’s keynote. The CEO’s opening speech spent a lot of time covering the wide audience that VR will one day cover, highlighting examples of apps that educate, games that entertain and even unexpected customers that have embraced the platform already.

“When we run up against the limits of reality, VR is going to make our reality that much better, so we’re setting a goal,” Zuckerberg explained. “We want to get a billion people in virtual reality.”

It’s a tall order for sure; nearly an eighth of the entire population of the world using VR seems like a distant dream. Crucially, Zuckerberg didn’t set a time limit for that goal, nor did he specify if getting people into VR meant specifically selling a billion VR devices, Oculus or otherwise, so there’s a little wiggle room there.

“There are going to be challenges to work through,” he added. “We have to build a safe environment and make sure that virtual reality is a force for good in the world. And we have to make sure that virtual reality is accessible to everyone.”

The rest of the Connect keynote was essentially formed around the idea of getting more people into VR. Zuckerberg next introduced Oculus Go, an affordable, accessible standalone VR headset that will be launching early next year, for example, while the Oculus Rift’s price was again dropped to $399. New business-focused Rift bundles were also introduced and the latest work on the Santa Cruz standalone was shown too.

Even with all these advances, VR is a long way off from reaching a billion people. Sony’s PlayStation VR has shifted a million units, and there are at least five million Gear VR owners out there. It’s going to be a long road to Facebook’s goal for sure.

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  • Mane Vr

    create the oasis and there will be.. lol

    • Rothgarr

      I came here to make a RP1 reference and you beat me to it!

  • Hone McBone

    Maybe stopping dividing the existing VR space with exclusives is a good first step then.

    • Walextheone

      It’s more published titles then exclusives per se. Games that wouldn’t have seen the light at, all if not money came to the Developers. Games and apps that any Viver could by.

  • daveinpublic

    Oculus really did start the current VR revolution. And Facebook really is investing not only resources, but vision, time, and their name on this risk. I personally think one day we’ll say, 1 billion people, of course, that would have happened with or with out Oculus. But, at this moment and time, they’re more bullish on this than anyone, FB was the first major company to jump into the fray, and they’re making every other company better. It takes real people to make the future a reality, and Mark is at the helm.

  • GrangerFX

    This won’t happen while Oculus keeps its current diving mask design and offers no support whatsoever for people that wear glasses.
    The facts: 61% of the population wear eye glasses. Of the remaining 39% most are too young to be able to use or afford a $400 VR headset or the powerful computer to run it. Wearing glasses with an Oculus headset causes real physical pain as the nose supports are pressed into your flesh. The frame leaves indentations in your skin since it runs directly under the strap by your ears. This is not a fun experience nor one you would want to repeat. The best solution would be to allow people to buy custom lenses for their prescription when they buy the headset. Not add on lenses but the primary lenses. That way you could take off your glasses before putting on the headset. The lack of any comfortable way to use VR for 61% of the population is the giant elephant in the room. It is an even bigger factor than VR causing motion sickness yet thus far it is rarely mentioned in any story about new VR headsets.