Facebook just named Hugo Barra to lead its virtual reality efforts, including the Oculus team. Zuckerberg’s bullishness on virtual reality is no secret. He made his passion for VR clear by agreeing to spend $2 billion on Oculus VR in 2014.
Upon making the announcement on Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Barra and he go way back.
“Hugo shares my belief that virtual and augmented reality will be the next major computing platform,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg added. “They'll enable us to experience completely new things and be more creative than ever before.”
“I’ve known Hugo for a long time, starting when he helped develop the Android operating system, to the last few years he's worked at Xiaomi in Beijing, bringing innovative devices to millions of people,” Zuckerberg said in a blog post.
Separate and apart from the Oculus deal, Facebook has already pumped $250 million into VR research and development. It has set aside an additional $250 for future VR investments, Zuckerberg told those who tuned into an Oculus Connect event, last October.
Of particular interest, $50 million of that cash has been set aside for mobile VR content, Zuckerberg said.
Naturally, there are games, including VR Sports Challenge, a sci-fi first-person shooter game named Arktika, and The Unspoken, which has been descr ibed as an “urban magic fight club.
Zuckerberg and his team also unveiled Oculus Avatars, which give users an eerily lifelike presence in virtual environments.
The avatars can be customized to one’s liking, then put to use at “parties” -- where up to eight users can engage in virtual socializing -- as well in more private “rooms.”