- Facebook has released a new Facebook 360 for Gear VR app that brings existing 360 images and video content to the Oculus powered virtual reality headset from Samsung, per a company news post. It is the platform's first dedicated app for experiencing 360-degree video.
- The post pointed out that Facebook has more than 25 million 360 photos and more than one million 360 videos posted to its platform.
- The app will provide users with four feeds to choose from: “explore” for discovering 360 content, “following” for friends and followed Pages content, “saved,” and “timeline” for users’ own 360 content.
The app is an interesting convergence of the VR-light 360-degree content Facebook has been promoting and a VR headset that is powered by the tech behind Facebook’s Oculus acquisition. It both increases the reach of existing 360-degree video content on the platform as well as making that content available in a format that best shows it off.
Placing 360-degree content on a VR headset might make the format more interesting for marketers given full VR provides users with an optimized 360-degree experience for images and video alike. Brands have already been taking advantage of the format for innovative creative, such as Honda’s recent 360-degree video ad for its CR-V model that included a spatial audio element adding 3D sound to the entire experience.
The app arrives at a time when true VR, while the focus of a lot of attention, has been slow to catch with both consumers and marketers. Just last week, Facebook dropped the price of its Oculus VR headset in an attempt to attract new users.
Facebook's release about the 360 for Gear VR app makes it clear that there is already a wealth of 360-degree video content available on the platform, which will help create a stickier experience by giving users a reason to come back repeatedly to discover new content. As such, it could pave the way for stronger interest in VR going foward.