Facebook completely reorganizes its virtual and augmented reality division

Facebook completely reorganizes its virtual and augmented reality division

Facebook has announced an internal restructuring within Oculus teams that will be divided by areas of expertise rather than products.

Just over ten days after the surprise resignation of Oculus co-founder Brendan Iribe, Facebook is reorganizing its teams dedicated to virtual reality (which immerses an individual in an immersive 3D environment) and augmented reality (which superimpose information or virtual objects on transparent glasses). According to the specialized site TechCrunch, these teams will no longer be divided into branches dedicated to specific products (headsets for PCs or headsets for mobile) but by areas of expertise. “These changes will have no impact on consumers and our partners in the developer community,” says a company spokesperson. The goal is above all for Facebook to no longer have isolated Oculus teams working on their own products in their corner. The social network wants to integrate them more into its organizational chart to have a clearer strategy on virtual reality/augmented reality technologies in the coming years. It is also in this logic that Mark Zuckerberg appointed Hugo Barra, former vice president in charge of virtual reality at Facebook to head Oculus in 2016.

This reorganization takes place in a difficult context. Some companies like the video game studio CPP have decided to abandon all their projects in virtual reality. For their part, virtual reality headsets still struggle to find their audience. In the second quarter of 2018, their overall sales fell by 34% year-on-year according to IDC. They are often criticized for their different technical limitations, their high prices but also their adverse effects such as nausea or headaches. “Every time I put on the headset, it makes me sick,” said Brendan Iribe, co-founder of Oculus in 2013.

Already several reorganizations

In 2016, Facebook had already implemented a reorganization within Oculus by creating a special pole planned for virtual reality headsets intended only for PCs. Facebook was one of the founders of the company, Palmer Luckey, one of the founders of the company, decided to leave Facebook over strategic disagreements: he did not agree with the strategy of democratization of virtual reality implemented by Facebook.

For several years, the social network has aimed to open virtual reality technology to as many people as possible by offering cheaper products. He has thus marketed the Oculus Go headset, a product sold at 199 dollars and is preparing to offer the Oculus Quest for 400 dollars next year. In this same strategic vein, the social network had negotiated a partnership with Samsung and its Gear VR headset from which it was possible to connect directly to its Facebook account. He had also launched an app, Spaces, which allows you to chat with friends, draw or make calls only in a virtual space. These changes are part of a broader vision carried by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who says he wants to eventually convert 1 billion people to virtual reality.

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