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Daniel James and Mike Booth To Lead Facebook’s Social VR Team

February 22
4:49 AM 2016

Facebook has announced on Sunday forming a new social VR team aiming to bring its core social networking service into virtual reality. The announcement has been made two years after acquiring Oculus for $2 billion and just prior to the launch of Oculus Rift headset next month.

The team is led by two executives, Daniel James and Mike Booth, both from the video games industry. The duo has backgrounds in creating 3D multiplayer experiences, according to a report published in Financial Times.

James, a British Canadian Developer familiar for online multiplayer game, Puzzle Pirates, has most recently worked at Sega. Booth has joined Facebook from Activision Blizzard, world's largest games publisher. Both the executives have joined Facebook in December.

LinkedIn listings of Booth invites job applications from game developers experienced in developing multiplayer online 3D games. Meanwhile, James profile in the same networking site represents him as a pioneer of virtual reality goods, multiplayer online games and virtual worlds.

Zuckerberg has revealed Facebook's dynamic streaming technology for 360 video to Gear VR during the Mobile World Congress (MWC), 2016. This technology allows performance upgrading to the headset streaming content by playing back at any given moment instead of processing the entire video, reports TechCrunch.

Zuckerberg believes, virtual reality is the next major computing platform to bring together family and friends on the other side of the country or the world. He intends to share and capture his daughter's first steps using virtual reality, reports USA Today.

Oculus has already experimented with bringing communication and social networking features like 'Social Alpha' or 'Toybox' for its Gear VR headset. Social Alpha allows small group of people to chat while watching online videos together on a virtual cinema screen. Meanwhile, the rift game, Toybox allows two people to play table tennis and other games in a small room together.

Facebook has also dedicated hundreds of best engineers to the VR team. The team is expected to compete with several startups trying to bring video conferencing and social networking into VR. Google appears as another competitor, investing heavily in VR to launch a new smart phone based headset later this year.

Oculus's Rift is all set to hit market for $599 and requires a hefty gaming PC to boot. The higher price and comparatively higher hardware requisites are the reasons for limited access to that brand of virtual reality, predict analysts.

The $99 Gear VR appears as the first step in getting familiar with the technology. Enthusiasts have watched more than 1 million hours of video on the Gear VR, for which Oculus built the virtual reality software.

Zuckerberg believes, virtual reality is the next major computing platform to bring together family and friends. He also intends to share and capture his daughter's first steps using virtual reality. These are the basic facts for which Facebook is investing heavily in the research and development of VR arena through its recently formed VR team. 

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