-- Facebook's $2 billion acquisition of virtual reality gaming headset maker Oculus last year has helped push immersive video experience forward. The social network's latest move today brings 360-degree video experiences to the Facebook News Feed.
The first immersive videos published today include an exclusive experience from Disney and Lucasfilm giving fans a sneak peek at "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." (Disney is the parent company of ABC News.) The videos are best viewed on Facebook or Android devices while iOS support is expected in the future.
The release of the new Facebook video experiences comes as the company gears up to ship its first Oculus consumer headsets in the first quarter of next year. While developer's headsets have primarily been used for marketing experiences ranging from apartment tours to virtual vacations, the 360-degree video experiences released today show Facebook and Oculus are ready to whet the appetites of consumers as they prepare to offer pre-orders of the first Oculus headsets sometime this fall.
Oculus CEO Brandon Iribe showed off the sleek black headset on stage at a press event in San Francisco in June where it was also revealed it will ship with a wireless Xbox One controller and adapter to enhance the gaming experience. It will work with Windows 10, making it easy for gamers to jump-start their experiences and stream their existing games to Oculus.
In addition to investing $10 million in the creation of games, Oculus is also working on Oculus Touch. A prototype of the controllers, which wrap around a player's hands, were also shown at the event.
The wireless controllers will allow players to pick up objects in their virtual worlds and also detect communicative gestures to enhance the gaming experience. ABC News last week unveiled a new virtual reality experience with JauntVR, giving iOS and Android users an immersive look inside Syria. For more information on how to check out ABC News' experience, click here.