Facebook is spending big on virtual reality

Zuckerberg sees a future where we talk with friends in a virtual world
Facebook is spending big on VR

Facebook is pouring serious cash into VR, which it expects to be the next social media sensation.

Despite a slight drop in share price, Facebook is investing big in VR, messaging and Instagram, with a huge $2.77 billion spending increase in the second quarter of 2015 - up to a total of 82% on last year.

Read this: What Mark Zuckerberg gets right about the future of VR

Facebook's profits have dropped by $72 million in Q2 of this year but the social network's CFO, Dave Wehner, told investors that "2015 in an investment year."

"The reason we're excited in this space is the continued progression of people getting richer and richer ways to share what's on their mind," added Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

"Ten years ago it was text. Now it's mostly visual and photos, then primarily video and we're seeing huge growth there, but that is not the end of the line. Immersive 3D content is the obvious next thing after video."

Zuckerberg believes that while VR will be disruptive for both gaming and video, there's also potential for more complex social applications. Talking with your mates in a virtual world sounds far-fetched, but also exciting. And Facebook isn't the only company that thinks so; new startup AltSpaceVR has just raised $10 million with its own VR social network.

Of course, this is a long term strategy. Wehner added that Facebook doesn't expect huge shipments of the Oculus Rift when it goes on sale in early 2016, stressing that it's still very early days.

Investing heavily in VR now may be painful for Facebook's shareholders, but the future payoff is likely to be huge, with analyst reports predicting VR revenue to be at $21.8 billion by 2020.

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