BARCELONA, Spain — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivered a much-needed shot of adrenaline to Samsung’s Unpacked press conference by making an unannounced appearance on stage to talk virtual reality and to praise his South Korean partner.

“VR is the next platform, where anyone can create and experience anything they want,” Zuckerberg said. “For right now, it’s mostly used for gaming. That’s quickly evolving.”

Zuckerberg asked the audience to imagine being able to do anything from sitting around a virtual campfire with friends any time they want to holding spontaneous meetings in VR.

He added: “That’s why Facebook is investing so much in VR, so we can deliver these new social experiences. VR is going to be the next social platform. And that’s why we’re working with Samsung.”

Zuckerberg said Samsung is the only company that can build the OLED screens at the scale needed to deliver the “low-persistence rending” necessary to make VR a mainstream technology.

In addition, Zuckerberg cited some new VR-related stats, noting that more than 1 million hours of video have been watched in VR.  He also touted Facebook’s wholehearted embrace of 360 video.

“We’ve been working to make Facebook the best platform for 360 video,” he said. “360 videos are even more immersive. You feel like you’re actually there. Our community already loves 360 videos. More than 1 million people are watching them every day. And more than 20,000 360 videos have been uploaded.”

Zuckerberg said Facebook has created new teams with Samsung to develop next-generation social apps for VR. And he said more engineers have been shifted to accelerate the underlying VR technology. As an example, he said that in the coming weeks Facebook would deliver a technology called “dynamic streaming” to Gear VR. This tech delivers higher-resolution video to the area someone is watching and lower-resolution to other areas in order to improve quality and reduce the bandwidth needed to deliver the video.

Finally, Zuckerberg said that 200 gaming apps have already been developed for Oculus and that Minecraft would be coming to the VR platform.


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