Looking for a change in career? Facebook is reportedly hiring experts in virtual reality in London in a bid to expand its Oculus unit in Europe, following the formal release of the Oculus Rift VR headset.
The new hiring spree caps a six-month expansion in the number of engineers, developers and developer relations staff that Facebook has been hiring in the UK, following its $2bn acquisition of Oculus in March 2014, just two years after the company was founded.
Facebook’s UK-based Oculus team currently comprises just 12 staff, but the company is looking to beef-up staff numbers. The Oculus team in the UK is led by Mike LeBeau, a former senior engineer at Google, who founded the company’s voice search software and moved to London to join Oculus in January.
LeBeau wrote on Facebook (where else?) earlier this year that “we’re going to build some really cool stuff” and suggested that the company’s London base will be central to the development of Facebook’s VR technology.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has thrown his weight behind VR, as well as the company’s resources, even though the area doesn’t appear to be directly core to social media.
“Pretty soon we are going to live in a world where everyone has the power to experience whole scenes as if you are there in person,” said Zuckerberg, throwing his weight behind the Samsung Gear 360 during the South Korean company’s VR-heavy press conference at this year’s Mobile World Congress.
“VR is the next platform, where anyone can create and experience anything they want. That’s why Facebook is investing in these platforms so early on.”
Zuckerberg said that Facebook would bring more of its technology into Samsung’s VR efforts, including dynamic rendering, which renders in high quality only the parts of the image that someone is looking at, rather than the whole picture, in order to cut bandwidth and processing overheads.
Facebook’s Oculus Rift went on general sale in January, but the headset’s $599 price, which did not include controllers, put a lot of people off. The HTC Vive, launched in conjunction with online gaming site Steam, in contrast, sold out within hours of going on sale when it launched in March.