Facebook is coming with a Passthrough API for Oculus. It allows developers to combine Oculus’ virtual reality experience with the real world. It is not augmented reality, but it is a mix between virtual reality and the real world. How?
The idea is that Passthrough will allow developers to insert videos from Quest 2’s sensors into their games, allowing you to see the real world around you, as it were. For example, you can have a video meeting with your colleagues where you can indicate with a slider how much virtual world and how much real world you want to see. For example, if you want to see your own laptop, but the virtual head of your colleague, you can.
Facebook has told UploadVR that the images of your environment will be processed immediately on the device and will not be saved. In their own right, Oculus Quest, Quest 2 and Rift S already had Passthrough technology, which allows you to quickly see what’s happening around you in the real world, but as innovative as it is today, it didn’t exist before.
It is not only useful for business calls, but it is interesting for gaming. You can then combine a real world with a game world. That will look like Pokémon Go, where you see, for example, Pikachu on your phone screen, with the real world as the background. However, an augmented reality Pokémon, for example, cannot hide behind a piece of furniture. He should always sit, stand or lie on top of it. Virtual Reality is smarter in that regard and could even recognize that there is a table, and for example hide a character half behind a table.
This is not immediately possible, because it is still an early development phase. So Facebook is eagerly looking for developers who will use this technology to create great gaming experiences. Hopefully, gaming experiences that won’t be disrupted by ads, as this sparked some controversy when Facebook announced it plans to personalize the ads. It’s annoying having your Facebook Messenger messages showing up on your Oculus (especially if you’re putting it on someone else’s site), but this takes it one step further.
Advertising on Oculus
In any case, you can ask yourself whether people should see advertisements after paying a lot of money. On the other hand, if there are going to be great semi-VR semi-real world experiences, then that Oculus even with commercials is a must-have. First wait and see if there are developers who want to try it.