We ask our industry panel - the brightest and sharpest VR professionals from around the world - one question about the VR industry, business, technology or trending stories every week.
Question: Facebook fired salvo after salvo of immersive media goodness at last week’s F8 developer event, with AR, VR and AI dominating the keynote presentations. What excited you most from F8 and why?
"Facebook Spaces is a huge step in the right direction for VR. In our game testing, that is one of the biggest pieces of feedback we would get - VR can be an extremely isolating experience. You go from a highly social interaction to isolation, which may not promote more extended use of VR. Now, users will be able to engage and interact at a much deeper level within VR. This is likely to open VR to a wider audience and greater retention."
Facebook’s AR Platform will now democratize mobile AR for mass consumers.Tim Merel
“Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘We’re making the camera the first augmented reality platform’ was the third of four key steps towards mass consumer AR. Pokémon Go gave mass consumers a taste of AR for the first time, Google Tango ushered in the race towards high end mobile AR phones, and Facebook’s AR Platform will now democratize mobile AR for mass consumers on any device.
“The final piece of the puzzle remains Apple launching an AR enabled iPhone (whether this year or next year). If and when that happens, mobile AR will kickstart a revolution that could drive a $108 billion AR/VR market by 2021 ($25 billion VR, $83 billion AR).”
“It is exciting to see continued short/mid/long-term R&D investment by the major platform holders in V/A/MR and AI, as that is key to seeding and maturation of those fields.
“It’s all exciting to me, but since I have to pick only one thing, brain-computer control is an interesting topic, as it speaks to the breadth of V/A/MR R&D, how far we have come and how much more there is to explore, as well as heavy implications that must be studied.”
“Hearing their plans for not just five years forward, but beyond that! Their interest and dedication to VR, AR and even brain-machine interfaces is awesome to see, hopefully spurring on other companies to follow and compete in those areas as well!
“As a VR developer, seeing more progress in their Social VR efforts is always welcome, even though when trying it out later on it's apparent that it's still very early days for it.”
Facebook have both the war chest and the patience to fund development in AR without worrying about having positive margins for decades.Jonathan Wagstaff
"From a commercial point of view, the tease around new genres of AR games has to be the most important short-term announcement. It's really quite amazing that no major developer has successfully jumped on the Pokemon Go! bandwagon (a severely flawed game in many respects), and produced a geo-interactive follow-up with superior gameplay mechanics. Admittedly, Niantic had the power of the Pokemon kleptomaniac brand behind them, but imagine what a union between say Disney and Facebook could do with the Star Wars franchise in AR.
“Zuckerberg is also spot-on with his 20-year prediction on AR glasses. We're still a long, long way off having the technology scaled down and perfected, and there still needs to be billions more in investment. Thankfully, Facebook have both the war chest and the patience to fund development in AR without worrying about having positive margins for decades."
“What excited me most is that Facebook has evolved from a social platform to a technology inventor. I would have expected a brain-control interface to have been developed by Google first, so this took my breath away. I converted the Spaces idea to being used for organizations in interviewing and furthermore for talent leadership assessments - so I’m curious to see this evolve.”
"While consumers were able to experiment with AR via Pokemon Go, Facebook's launch of AR Studio provides another channel through which consumers can explore what Augmented Reality has to offer at scale. We are excited to see AR become more mainstream, as I think workplace adoption is certainly influenced by what happens in the consumer space and any step forward in AR's adoption overall brings continued innovation and new applications for its use to market everyday."
"We were very excited to see that Facebook had put more resources towards evolving its pro-grade VR camera. This is likely a good sign that we're moving closer to seeing a greater emphasis on quality content creation for Facebook Spaces and other social VR platforms. More importantly, it's a step towards opening the door for user generated VR content on the platform."
It will drive the competition to accelerate the development of the technology.Thomas Bidaux
“I was the most excited by the AR announcement at F8 this year. I believe that big technological revolutions happen in the background, small step by small step, and while the biggest challenge for AR, the hardware, is still looking for a solution, the software progress is already very encouraging.
“The fact that Facebook put its foot on the ground and made such a significant statement to their commitment to AR is very promising. Hopefully, it will also drive the competition to take them up on the challenge, and accelerate the development of the technology.”