10,000 workers now part of Facebook AR/VR division

San Francisco:┬áNearly 10,000 Facebook employees — almost a fifth of its total workforce — are currently working in the augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) labs, clearly indicating that the social network has bet really big on the immersive technology.

According to The Information, Facebook has planned an aggressive strategy of building its own consumer hardware to cut the dependence on Apple and Google.

In 2017, the Facebook Oculus VR division accounted for over 1,000 employees at a time when Facebook’s headcount was 18,770.

Facebook currently has a global workforce of 58,604 (as of December 31, 2020), an increase of 30 per cent year-over-year.

Facebook-owned Oculus virtual reality (VR) headsets captured 53 per cent of the extended reality (XR) headset shipments in 2020 which declined 9 per cent (on-year), according to a new report.

According to Counterpoint’s ‘Global XR Model Tracker,’ the annual decline was less than expected thanks to the Oculus Quest 2 performance during the holiday season.

The improved specifications like increased memory, larger battery life, and higher resolution and refresh rate, at an affordable price point were the clear drivers for Oculus growth.

Oculus also dominated the list of top five XR devices. Three headsets in the list were from Oculus.

Earlier this week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he is aiming to introduce more realistic digital avatars for users of VR headsets with eye and face tracking, in order to create a better social experience into the device.

In a podcast interaction with The Information, he said that Facebook’s Oculus VR headsets in the future will give users a more real-life immersive experience.

According to him, hardware changes are a key area in VR.