Just a little thought about today news that I found most interesting: Oculus is seriously starting an augmented reality division.

The news is quite strange because Oculus is a virtual reality company and while lots of people still confuse the two, AR and VR are two pretty different technologies. Furthermore, no one of the other big players of virtual reality is experimenting on AR, too (or, at least, we don’t know it). Vice versa, big players in AR at the moment are names like Microsoft, Meta, Epson and the super vaporous Magic Leap and no one of these names is involved in VR (except from Microsoft, to be honest). Even Apple seems more interested in AR and to have excluded VR from its business. It is like the companies are investing in one technology or the other at the moment, due to the fact that these technologies are so innovative that they require huge investments in R&D, devices, marketing, contents and other stuff and so there are no enough resources for both. But Oculus now seems interested in AR, too.

After a short WTF moment, I thought that it has sense, because:

  1. I strongly believe that in the end the two technologies will merge. If you have ever looked at a 360-videos using HoloLens, you get that while this is an AR device, it can also work quite well as a VR device, apart from the fact that the image of the video is still semi-transparent and that the FOV is terrible (no immersion, sorry). In the end we’ll surely have some kind of combined goggle that serves both technologies. Oculus maybe wants to start experimenting this kind of combined headset. It is surely a long term move, since starting experimenting with a team today means having first results maybe in one year (and I’m saying “first results”, not a product).
  2. Oculus is facebook and facebook is a social media company. Social VR is interesting, but we all know that the future of socials will be augmented reality. We’ll wear an AR glass all day and we’ll be connected all time with our friends… and with facebook. So facebook wants to enter the augmented reality market and what is the best way to start experimenting with it (and maybe file some patents)? Exactly, asking its virtual reality company to put its brightest minds at work with it. Michael Abrash will lead the team and if you apply for the job, you can have the honour to work with him (by the way, working position is in Redmond… are they hoping to capture some of Microsoft’s best AR scientists? I would not stand a Microsoft vs Oculus court case…)

I’m very curious to see what this will lead to. I guess that at Oculus Connect of this year we’ll maybe see some of its first experiments… and maybe his majesty Michael Abrash will make a (super interesting, as always) talk about them.

What’s your opinion about this? Let me know in the comments or write me on twitter (I always answer :))!

(Header image by UploadVR)