SUBSCRIBE
Get one year of WIRED for just $10.
Plus, get a free tote!
SUBSCRIBE
Already a subscriber? Sign-In.
Get WIRED for just $10SUBSCRIBE NOW
JULIA GREENBERG
BUSINESS09.23.2015 01:10 PM
Facebook Debuts 360 Video With an Immersive Star Wars Clip
Virtual reality may be the future, but an immersive experience is already here.
FACEBOOK
FACEBOOK WANTS TO take your News Feed into the future.
Starting today, you'll be able to experience 360-degree videos alongside posts from your friends in Facebook's News Feed. Users can explore the videos by dragging their cursors within videos on the desktop or by physically tilting their phones while watching on mobile. Each video is a few minutes long and give users a completely spherical—that is, 360-degree—way to explore sand dunes, the ocean, or, say, a galaxy far, far away.
Case in point: As part of the official rollout, Facebook users can pilot through a 360-degree part of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens universe. They'll also be able to follow along with a day-in-the-life of LeBron James' workout; check out Vice's on-the-ground reporting in Afghanistan; or head underwater as Discovery finds sharks looking for food.
The Facebook rollout features those partners as well as GoPro and NBC, but any creator with the right equipment to make VR-like clips will soon be able to share them on Facebook in their fully immersive form. Users will be able to see the videos on Android and the web. They'll roll out in coming months on iOS. They're also not yet viewable in Safari or Internet Explorer.
Tech Today
Facebook's move into immersive content isn't all that surprising, though it shows how the company is actively pushing into the future. Co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg first unveiled the 360 clips at the Facebook F8 Developers Conference earlier this year. On an earnings call this summer, Zuckerberg also hinted at how immersive video—and VR—are the future of how we'll consume media.
TRENDING NOW
Building Games For Virtual Reality Storytelling | Breaking Through

Our bad! It looks like we're experiencing playback issues.
"Over time the types of stories that people want to tell each other and the types of content they want to share with each other will get richer and more immersive," Facebook's VP of product Will Cathcart says. "So just as we've seen an evolution from text to photos, we're seeing a pretty big jump to video in the last couple of years. We think that's only going to continue."
The decision to launch 360 videos in News Feed shows that Facebook isn't about just giving users what they want in the sense of what they already know and like, but also to give them a new visual form to explore—and maybe come to love. Facebook acquired virtual reality star Oculus in March of last year for $2 billion, and the 360 videos were developed in a collaboration with the Oculus and News Feed teams. But the Oculus Rift doesn't go on sale until early next year, and most people don't yet have VR tech at home.
"I can have an immersive 360 experience with the technology I have today," Cathcart says.
"It makes it possible for people who are creating this content to continue creating it for people who have Oculus or the right VR experience, but it will work for everyone on Facebook too."
Julia Greenberg is a staff writer at WIRED, where she covers media, business, and new technologies. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago. She lives in San Francisco and occasionally tweets.
STAFF WRITER
TOPICS
360 VIDEO
F8
FACEBOOK
STAR WARS
VR
1 Year of WIRED for $10.
SUBSCRIBE
WIRED is where tomorrow is realized. It is the essential source of information and ideas that make sense of a world in constant transformation. The WIRED conversation illuminates how technology is changing every aspect of our lives—from culture to business, science to design. The breakthroughs and innovations that we uncover lead to new ways of thinking, new connections, and new industries.

RSS
Site Map
Accessibility Help
Condé Nast Store
Condé Nast Spotlight

© 2021 Condé Nast. All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement and Your California Privacy Rights. Wired may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. Ad Choices