Rift Causes Seismic Shift: Facebook and Oculus VR

I've had my eyes on Oculus VR for years. I'm something of a VR/3D geek, after having worked for a while in the videogame business, as well as selling and marketing live-action 3D production technology. (Yes, Jim Cameron, I'm still a little pissed that you stole that Cirque du Soleil movie from me.)

The reason I've been watching Oculus is the same reason that the market for 3D entertainment production remains limited: the screens. As long as two distinct, offset images are projected onto a flat screen, the experience is going to be, well, rather one-dimensional.

So, it's been clear to me for a while that, as the market for what used to be called "filmed" entertainment* continues to fragment, the next stage will be more immersive environments.  Videogames are already deeply entrenched in the idea of VR - developer kits for both Oculus and Sony's Morpheus have been available for a while, and the first games are on their way.

But what happens when our movie and television viewing shifts?  We already carry little screens around with us to keep us entertained.  How long before we just plop on a headset?

Which makes Facebook's acquisition today all the more interesting. Suddenly, this "social network" is looking more and more like just a plain "network."  Facebook is on the way to controlling the pipes not only for your cousin's status updates, but for the latest version of Call of Duty, as well as your favorite television show, now available in 360-degree 3D. 

Lest you think, I'm jumping the gun, check out this trailer for Zero Point, from the first production company devoted to movies for the Oculus, Bay Area-based Condition One. That rumbling sound you hear?  It's the sound of the entertainment industry being hauled up to Silicon Valley. 

*Can we come up with a new name for this?  Sadly, film is very hard to come by these days.

Photo:  StarCave VR at TEDx San Diego by Sean Dreilinger.