Facebook held its quarterly earnings call today to update investors on the company’s performance, and in a Q&A session someone asked about VR.
It was a well-timed question coming ahead of the launch of Oculus Go, Facebook’s first standalone VR headset, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took the opportunity to respond. Though his answer is nothing surprising — we’ve heard a lot of it before — he also pretty succinctly explained why VR continues to be so important to the company.
Here’s a transcript of Zuckerberg’s answer about VR:
I think the big picture is that every 10-15 years or so there’s a major new computing paradigm. Whether that’s DOS, then Windows and desktop UI, then Web broswers and now mobile phones and apps. So it strikes me as inevitable that that progression will continue. And each one gets to be more natural to interact with. More natural gestures for controlling. More immersive. More portable. It strikes me as very likely the next one is going to be around virtual and augmented reality.
We’re investing a lot in this because, frankly, we haven’t to date been a hardware company or an operating system company. We think that we need to build up a lot of different muscles in order to be competitive and be able to succeed in that space and to be able to shape that space.
One of my great regrets in how we’ve run the company so far is I feel like we didn’t get to shape the way that mobile platforms developed as much as would be good, because they were developed contemporaneously with Facebook early on. iOS and Android came out around 2007, we were a really small company at that point. That just wasn’t a thing that we were working on.
People should really be at the center of how we design technology. It shouldn’t be designed around apps, it should be designed around our relationships because that’s what matters to people and that’s not the world we’re on on mobile. I really am very committed to this idea of making sure the next platform reflects those values that Facebook stands for.
This is going to be an exciting year. Oculus Go is coming out. We have the prototype and the developer kit around the higher end standalone coming out as well. We’re doing a number of other things that I think are going to be quite exciting over time as well.
I don’t know exactly when it’s going to be a big deal. When we started talking about this I said that I thought this was going to be a 10-year journey before this was really a mainstream major platform, and I think the reality is that Facebook needs to be investing before it is a big thing.