Facebook bought Oculus Rift for $2 billion, a virtual reality headset, back in March 2014. In March of this year, the headset was finally made available to the public for sale. Avid video gamers used the device to insert themselves (as avatars) into their games.
But if you're not into gaming then it was hard to understand the appeal. After a few years of hype, we're finally seeing some of the more broad and practical capabilities of virtual reality headsets.
CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg recently did a live demonstration of the headset at the Oculus Connect conference. In the demo, his avatar interacted with two other avatars. All three of them traveled to the bottom of the ocean, played chess and stopped by Zuckerburg's home to visit his dog.
The purpose was to show all of the social activities you can engage in while using the headset. In a post on Facebook, Zuckerberg said, "The idea is that virtual reality puts people first. It's all about who you're with... You have an environment where you can experience anything."
He even took a selfie during the presentation and posted it on his Facebook wall.
What you saw in the video is just the beginning. People will be able to create and customize their avatars. Later on, they will release sensors that will allow people to create virtual rooms scaled to the size of actual rooms. Facebook also wants to develop their own virtual reality web browser.
All this new technology is quite pricey; the headset costs $599 and the Touch controller, which will go on sale December 6, will cost $199. However, many retailers allow people to try out the technology before they buy it and the headset comes with access to hundreds of free games.
Virtual reality really seems to be taking off this year, which means Facebook is not the only game in town. Daydream View, Google's virtual reality headset, was recently unveiled at their live event along with a few other innovative gadgets. To stay up to date on all things virtual reality and other waves of the future, read our Happening Now section daily.