Facebook VR: 10 Reasons It Won't Work Out - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
IT Life
Commentary
3/29/2015
11:36 AM
David Wagner
David Wagner
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
100%
0%

Facebook VR: 10 Reasons It Won't Work Out

Virtual reality sounds great, but Facebook and VR aren't necessarily a great pairing.

Vegas Geeks: What Happens Here, Stays Here
Vegas Geeks: What Happens Here, Stays Here
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Facebook is continuing its investment in VR and spherical video, made clear in its announcements at the F8 developer conference in San Francisco March 25-26. One of the things Facebook has always said is that it thinks VR can transform the way people communicate, making for a personal, immersive experience.

That's great, and honestly, we hope Facebook pulls it off. We could all use a little more personal communication. If you can't have regular reality with friends, virtual reality isn't bad. Sharing vacation videos, even dinner videos and birthday parties, all sound like fun uses of the technology. If we'll post two dimensional photos of our lunch on social media, I'm sure people will be happy to post long, luscious videos of dinner that can be turned into VR food porn.

And as much as I don't like to admit that Facebook runs on ads, it does. Ads on Facebook VR will probably be way cooler than the standard newsfeed ad. If I have to be subjected to ads, I'd rather they be ones with immersive video and special effects than print ads invading my news feed. VR ads would be literally in my face.

Gaming has long been a focus of Facebook and VR developers, too. Many people think the next generation of gaming will be VR. Despite my general fear of tripping over the coffee table while playing with a VR game, I can see the advantages of playing inside the eyes of the gamer.

[ See what Facebook should have done instead of VR. Read Facebook's Teleportation Station: 10 Things We Wanted Instead. ]

Still, I'm skeptical Facebook VR has a real future. There's a lot to overcome, as noted in this week's Sunday Top Ten. For your viewing pleasure I present:

10 Reasons Why Facebook VR Is A Bad Idea

1. You think your mother embarrasses you with posts now? Imagine them in spherical video … in a head set … where she looks gigantic.

(Image: Ann via Flickr)

(Image: Ann via Flickr)

2. Playing Farmville is going to get way too intense if you have to walk your fields and pick them yourself.

3. A virtual birthday party works fine until you try to blow out the candles and get spit all over your helmet.

4. You definitely don't want anyone "poking" you while you are wearing a helmet and can't see.

5. Some ads get way more awkward the "realer" they get.

(Image: crushingiron.com)

6. Try to crush candy. Crush dog instead.

7. If you think sitting alone at a restaurant and checking your phone feels weird, trying doing it with a VR helmet on.

8. Status update: Having dinner in a small café in Paris. Translation: Eating a Big Mac in my underwear on the couch.

9. Bad hair day every time you check messenger.

(Image: Jerald Jackson via Flickr)

(Image: Jerald Jackson via Flickr)

10. Mark Zuckerberg will insist on selling all VR helmets in hoodie variety only.

What do you think about Facebook getting into VR? Tell us in the comments section below.

Attend Interop Las Vegas, the leading independent technology conference and expo series designed to inspire, inform, and connect the world's IT community. In 2015, look for all new programs, networking opportunities, and classes that will help you set your organization’s IT action plan. It happens April 27 to May 1. Register with Discount Code MPOIWK for $200 off Total Access & Conference Passes.

David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio
We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
kstaron
50%
50%
kstaron,
User Rank: Ninja
3/31/2015 | 2:41:44 PM
VR is not quite viable yet
I think the only way for VR to really work is how the book "Player One" did it with a complete suit and helmet where you are then physically immobile so the reality is dreamlike where you walk but aren't marcking in time in living room, therefore no danger of stepping on the dog, or the coffeetable.

Now imagine those embarrassing photos of you as a little kid, with the emphasis on bare. Now have them in virtual reality when you have your new flame meets your mom over facebook VR. Yeah, not happening.
Charlie Babcock
50%
50%
Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
3/30/2015 | 5:40:49 PM
The end of Words with Friends
Hey, you could play Scrabble instead of just Words with Friends.
David Wagner
100%
0%
David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
3/30/2015 | 4:49:35 PM
Re: Facebook VR: 10 Reasons It Won't Work Out
@zerox203- I think I've made it clear how much I hate VR, especially in light of Microsoft's much smarter Hololens idea. But i have to say as much as I've made fun of it, one day or another VR is going to win. There's just too much fun in the idea of being immersed in a whole new world. I suspect, in actuallity, the VR helmet won't be the way it is done. I suspect something more like a holodeck will be when VR really takes off. But never underestimate the power of someone trying to escape reality.

If Oculus and Facebook sell enough to just keep plugging away at the technology one day or another it will probably catch on. I just don't think it will be in this format.
zerox203
100%
0%
zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
3/30/2015 | 4:45:58 PM
Re: Facebook VR: 10 Reasons It Won't Work Out
To be honest, when I first heard around this time last year that Facebook had bought Oculus (a name that was circulating in the gaming world for a while), my first reaction was head scratching. There's some overlap between the two, but the prospect of Facebook VR specifically still leaves a weird taste in my mouth. A bit of time to ruminate on it gave me a few ideas about how the two could come together to make some cool stuff, or moreover, the possibility that Facebook would just supply the money, have Oculus dedicate a certain amount of their resources towards Facebook-related projects, and give Oculus free reign to operate the rest of their business as they see fit. It looks like a bit of both is what's happening - Oculus has still been at all the major gaming trade and consumer shows (including Pax East here in Boston) showing the same gaming-focused tech that they have been.

The funny examples you give here do actually get at the real underpinnings. Isn't the whole idea of Facebook to be quick and portable, to be accesible at a moment's notice and then put away? It's the complete opposite of total immersion with a bulky headset. The idea of a built-in social component to a full VR experience (share a screenshot of this cool landscape you stumbled upon in virtual Elder Scrolls to Facebook!) is cool, but might take away from the immersion, which, along with ads possibly doing the same, might turn some off to VR. I do believe that Oculus will have a hard time taking off without the support of big, established game studios (look at who the early adopters are), but Facebook has connections in that space as well. It could still be totally awesome if they steer it the right way - or it could end up like Microsoft buying Rareware.
asksqn
0%
100%
asksqn,
User Rank: Ninja
3/30/2015 | 4:04:28 PM
Meet the new FB same as the old
Seems to me VR is just another billion dollar toy for Zuckerberg to play with and make six digit figures on advertising in the process AND still cram unwanted content into the feed.
Slideshows
IT Careers: 12 Job Skills in Demand for 2020
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  10/1/2019
Commentary
Enterprise Guide to Multi-Cloud Adoption
Cathleen Gagne, Managing Editor, InformationWeek,  9/27/2019
Commentary
5 Ways CIOs Can Better Compete to Recruit Top Tech Talent
Guest Commentary, Guest Commentary,  10/2/2019
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
Video
Current Issue
Data Science and AI in the Fast Lane
This IT Trend Report will help you gain insight into how quickly and dramatically data science is influencing how enterprises are managed and where they will derive business success. Read the report today!
Slideshows
Flash Poll