Today during the annual Facebook F8 developers conference, Mark Zuckerberg’s social media behemoth revealed its
plans for world domination brand new 360 degree VR camera. At first glance it just seems like a logical new product to go with their $2bn acquisition of the now shipping Oculus Rift, but wait, Facebook also announced that the $30k prototype was never actually going to be turned into a product available to consumers. Although experts have suggested this may hamper sales figures, the camera will instead be open source, with the intention to encourage other people to build their own version and start filming VR compatible footage.
The goal, according to Facebooks chief product officer Chris Cox, was to create a ‘great reference device’ for the industry. Another goal presumably is to accelerate the amount of oculus friendly content available and therefore encourage sales. After all, as exciting as VR is, a $600/£400 headset is – in my humble opinion – wasted watching Facebook meme videos and vines. Now take said Facebook meme videos and Vines and make them 360 degrees? Count me in.
Instead, the 360 VR camera will be open source, with the intention to encourage other people to build their own version and start filming VR compatible footage. The goal, according to Facebooks chief product officer Chris Cox, was to create a ‘great reference device’ for the industry.
The ‘Surround 360’ Camera is able to record in up to 8k resolution, and comes with Facebook developed software which removes the need for tricky post-processing to combine all of the 17 individual cameras into one shot. Since Facebook is currently busy trying to supply Africa with the world’s most precious resource – cheap internet – they are hoping that a large manufacturer takes their prototype and takes it into the consumer market.
The giant facebook UFO-esque 360 VR camera isn’t without competition, however, with google having already released the ‘Odyssey’ in 2015. Comprising of 16 GoPro cameras and with a rather large price tag of $15000, this again is not for the casual film-maker. Overall this competition can only be good for the long-term development of VR, especially seeing as both google and facebook have expressed desires to take VR beyond just gaming, opening up all sorts of possibilities. And if all else fails at least there will be more HD VR pornos. Thanks Zuckerberg.
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