Facebook is making big changes to their corporate image, and part of that is restructuring its Oculus VR studio, Spark AR, and Portal teams into Facebook Reality Labs—or FRL for short. The company also states that their annual conference, formerly Oculus Connect, will now be called Facebook Connect. It will be happening on September 16.
Facebook states that the change was made for the sake of clarity. To ensure that while Oculus is a Facebook product, they are moving toward a platform to “help people feel more present with each other, even when we’re apart.” The name has been in use at Facebook as the name of their research division.
Chief Scientist at FRL, Michael Abrash, and his various teams around the world championed the name change at Facebook. They were granted their request to move away from the Facebook app, and are looking toward building a future that makes the most of the power of their VR and AR systems that they have been working on.
Facebook claims that while AR and VR bring their own privacy challenges, they are focused on ensuring user privacy. The company will be producing both the hardware and the software for their devices and headsets, so they’ll be in full control over what information is collected and how it is used. This will be the seventh straight year that the company has hosted an AR/VR conference, and will showcase immersive developer sessions.
Facebook, as a company, has grown substantially beyond their initial social network. Today, they own Whatsapp, Instagram, Oculus, Workplace, Portal, and more. Giving the AR/VR teams room to breathe and grow outside of the social network is a good move. Hopefully, the team can develop technologies and processes that will continue to improve the Oculus platform as well as the technology overall.
While we still don’t know if virtual reality or augmented reality is the future of gaming, the possibilities for these platforms are plentiful. We’re excited to see what will come out of FRL, and what it means for gaming.
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