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Next Step VR? Facebook Rolls Out 360 Degree Videos

Next Step VR? Facebook Rolls Out 360 Degree VideosFacebook users on web and mobile will be able to interact with the videos, with 360 degree videos initially rolling out for Android mobile devices, with iOS to follow in the coming months.

Users will be able to interact with the videos, controlling what they look at.

“On the web you can do this by dragging around the video with your cursor, and on mobile devices you do it by dragging with your finger – or even just by turning your device,” Maher Saba, Facebook engineering director, video, explained in announcing the rollout.

“You’ll be able to hold up your phone and the 360 video will follow you as you turn, looking around, to experience things from all over the world like never before.”

There are a number of publishers sharing new 360 videos on Facebook, including Star Wars, Discovery, GoPro, LeBron James & Uninterrupted, NBC’s Saturday Night Live, and VICE, which Saba noted “help show the range of possibilities” with the new medium.

“For example, Disney and Lucasfilm are debuting an exclusive 360 experience from its upcoming movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens, bringing fans inside the beloved Star Wars universe,” Saba wrote.

Facebook is a notable presence behind the development of virtual reality technology, with the Oculus Rift VR headset slated for release early next year, with the move to 360 degree videos potentially a precursor to VR.

Juniper Research recently found that VR headsets are set for steep growth through to 2020, with the technology poised to transform the entertainment industry.