The VR company Oculus was acquired by Facebook, which means Oculus is owned by Facebook. There’s been a bit of worry lately, and pretty much since the acquisition was made, that Facebook might envelope Oculus and dissolve the VR brand. That worry transformed recently when Oculus revealed that all Oculus VR headsets would move away from Oculus accounts, and would instead require Facebook accounts for full functionality.
News this week suggests that Facebook will not functionally absorb Oculus, nor dissolve the VR company. Instead, Facebook launched a new iteration of the “AR/VR org” launched back in 2017. This new system goes by the name Facebook Reality Labs, complete with a far more engaging mark (shown above) to make it clear that FACEBOOK REALITY LABS is, indeed, an organization that Facebook has, and runs, and is not the same as what it was when it was known as the team at Oculus Research.
Facebook Reality Labs is the new unification of Facebook’s efforts to “build the next computing platform centered around people.” The name is new, the mission is not. According to the the VP of Facebook Reality Labs at Facebook, Andrew Bosworth (Boz), the mission is as follows:
“To build tools that help people feel connected, anytime, anywhere.” Boz continued today, “We continue to work to enable depth of connection through social presence while building the technologies necessary to make this future a reality.”
Unfortunately – depending on your perspective – one element in the Oculus universe will change in a rather significant way. The event that’s been called Oculus Connect in the past will now be called Facebook Connect.
This event will handle all the VR/AR stuff that’d normally appear at Oculus Connect. This event will take place September 16, 2020, on Facebook Live “and Oculus Venues”. It’s possible this event will take place in-person in the future, but this year it’s all virtual.
And why should it ever really go back to the way things were before? Working with a virtual reality / augmented reality platform should prove itself every year by holding its biggest event entirely in virtual reality, shouldn’t it? That’d convince me, at least, that there’s a future in the virtual realm, if Facebook can depend upon it for their very important yearly event.