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Facebook may be developing a virtual reality video app

Facebook took a big leap into the virtual reality market when it purchased Oculus VR last year, but that's about where its work with VR stopped. Now, Facebook itself may be starting to work on virtual reality, too. According to The Wall Street Journal, Facebook is developing a mobile app for viewing virtual reality videos — videos that are filmed in 360 degrees, usually using a multi-camera setup, and allow a viewer to look around the world as they're playing. The app is apparently in an early stage of development and a release is not yet guaranteed, but it's said to be envisioned as working on both iOS and Android.

The details are clearly quite basic at the moment, but the prospects are still interesting. Facebook has already announced plans to start supporting 360-degree videos within its News Feed, and a video app dedicated to them would help Facebook fight to become the platform for this kind of movie. That's particularly important given Facebook's ownership of Oculus, which is supposed to launch to consumers next year and could certainly use more content designed specifically for VR. Should Facebook launch this app, it'll immediately be in competition with YouTube, which has already added support for 360-degree videos. Google even has its own special way of displaying these videos on phones thanks to the Cardboard VR viewer — something that sounds like Facebook's own app could work with, too.