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Facebook Reportedly Making VR App for Smartphones

Image: Michal Ludwiczak /

Image: Michal Ludwiczak /

Ever since Facebook bought Oculus VR, the question has been how would the social network would fold virtual reality into its existing product. Rather than introduce the public to its take on VR with a traditional, headset-based implementation, Facebook may show off virtual reality with video in a mobile device app for iOS and Android.

According to sources speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook's VR app would insert users into immersive realities through 360-degree, "spherical" video. Compiled from multiple cameras, users would tilt phones to rotate their perspective.

MORE: Virtual Reality War: Project Morpheus vs. Oculus Rift

If Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's initial comments after the Oculus acquisition are to be believed, this app may be only the beginning. In March, Zuckerberg stated "Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate." 

In an update he posted on his Facebook account, Zuckerberg set an extremely high bar for the virtual-reality service, stating, "Oculus' mission is to enable you to  experience the impossible. Their technology opens up the possibility of completely new kinds of experiences."

To achieve seismic interface change on such a large scale, launching the VR technology through a video-playing mobile app seems like a logical step. Given the current popularity of video-streaming apps such as Periscope, Meerkat and YouTube, Facebook's Oculus app would introduce VR to the public in a way the public is familiar with.

VR is an extremely competitive market at the moment, with plenty of products in the development stages. Sony is working on its Project Morpheus headset, and Google has introduced both its Cardboard VR viewer and the Jump camera rig for recording 360-degree video through 16 GoPros.

Oculus itself has the Gear VR headset, which it partnered with Samsung to produce, due to be released later this year.