Facebook has been significantly accelerating its augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) efforts. According to a report in The Information, the social media giant has nearly 10,000 employees in its division working on devices based on internal organizational data.
Facebook, to lessen its dependence on makers of the two dominant mobile operating systems, Apple and Google, in recent years, has laid out an aggressive strategy of building its own consumer hardware. Its ambitions’ seriousness is reflected in its headcount as the Reality Labs division now accounts for almost a fifth of the people working at Facebook globally.
As UploadVR noted in 2017, at a time when Facebook’s headcount was 18,770 overall, the Oculus VR division accounted for over a thousand employees, indicating a percentage somewhere north of 5%, which is barely anything compared to almost 20% now.
Since then, the Menlo Park, California-headquartered Facebook, has shifted its VR focus away from Oculus Rift-style tethered headsets and released standalone wireless devices that don’t require a PC; these were the Oculus Quest and Quest 2. The Quest 2, priced at $299 on its release last year, was preordered five times as much as its predecessor, with developers seeing a boost in sales of their existing titles.
“Today, most of what Facebook does is…we’re building on top of other people’s platforms,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg told The Information in an interview this week on Facebook’s VR and AR ambitions. “I think it really makes sense for us to invest deeply to help shape what I think is going to be the next major computing platform, this combination of augmented and virtual reality, to make sure that it develops in this way that is fundamentally about people being present with each other and coming together.”