Facebook Reportedly Working On A Virtual Reality Video Smartphone App

Nearly a year and a half after Facebook paid $2 billion to buy virtual reality company Oculus, the online behemoth is apparently ready to bring some virtual reality technology to its social media platform.

Citing people close to the matter, The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook is working to bring virtual reality to consumers’ phones via a standalone app that would support 360-degree videos.

Facebook’s spherical video format, which is typically compiled from multiple cameras and angles, would allow users to change their viewing perspective simply by tilting their Android- or iOS-powered phones.

People with knowledge of the app say it’s currently in the early stages and it’s unclear when or if the app will actually launch.

Facebook declined to provide comment on the potential app to the Wall Street Journal.

Delving into the world of virtual reality isn’t exactly a surprise for Facebook: besides the aforementioned $2 billion purchase of Oculus, the company’s top executives have long alluded to the use of such technology.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg has previously called virtual reality the next “computing platform.” The WSJ reports that back in March, he said Facebook would someday support spherical videos in its news feed, allowing users to move around inside a video, viewing it from different angles.

While a mobile app version of virtual reality videos would offer a much less immersive experience than Oculus’ traditional headsets, it could help introduce the technology to a larger audience, the WSJ reports, perhaps leading more consumers to seek out Oculus’ Rift headset when it begins consumer sales next year.

Facebook Looks to Bring Virtual Reality to Mobile Devices [The Wall Street Journal]