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Facebook boss predicts 10-year development time for VR ecosystem

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg predicted it will take “at least 10 years” for the Virtual Reality ecosystem to be built out, but said he is confident VR will be an important technology.

In an interview for Die Welt newspaper with Mathias Döpfner, the CEO of German media group Axel Springer, Zuckerberg likened the rollout of VR to the development of the smartphone and said “now is the time to invest”.

“I honestly don’t know is how long it will take to build this ecosystem. It could be five years, it could be 10 years, it could be 15 or 20. My guess is that it will be at least 10, ” said Zuckerberg in the interview, which was also published in English by Business Insider.

“It took 10 years to go from building the initial smartphone to reaching the mass market. BlackBerry came out in 2003 and it didn’t get to about a billion units until 2013.  So I can’t imagine it would be much faster for VR.”

Zuckerberg said he could “absolutely” imagine that VR chat would one day be the most frequent type of conversation, and said that “people will always want more immersive ways to express themselves”.

The comments come after Zuckerberg said at Mobile World Congress last week that sixty degree video and ultimately virtual reality will become mainstream ways of “sharing experiences” that will drive the next wave of mobile network upgrades.

Separately Facebook said last month that it is looking to launch a dedicated video offering as engagement with video content on the service continues to grow.