(photo credit: ILLUSTRATIVE: REUTERS)
LOS ANGELES - Thought video was huge for Facebook? Then get ready for virtual reality: That was one of the messages Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave investors during the company's Q2 2015 earnings call on Wednesday. "Immersive 3D content is the obvious next thing after video," Zuckerberg said.
Zuckerberg argued that human communication and expression of ideas has rapidly evolved over the last few years. Just a decade ago, most of this communication was primarily text-based, he said. Right now, it has moved on to image-based and, increasingly, video-based communication, he said, adding: "But that's not the end of the line."
Zuckerberg added that VR will be big for both video and gaming, both areas in which Facebook is already very active. However, in the long run, it may power more complex social applications as well. Facebook acquired virtual reality startup Oculus in March 2014 for $2 billion, and has since announced that it will ship the Oculus Rift headset to consumers in early 2016.
Zuckerberg made these remarks as Facebook delivered more upbeat earnings results. The company generated $4.04 billion in revenue in Q2, compared to $2.91 billion during the same quarter a year ago. Facebook's net income for the quarter was $719 million, compared to $791 million for Q2 of 2014. Net income was slightly down in part due to growing R&D investments; "2015 is an investment year," said CFO Dave Wehner.
Facebook also continues to grow its user base: 968 million users accessed the social network on average per day in June, compared to 829 million in June 2014. Some 844 million users access Facebook per day with their mobile devices. In June 2014, that number was still at 654 million.
And while Facebook's user base continues to migrate to mobile, so does the company's ad revenue: 76% of Facebook's ad dollars now come from mobile, compared to just 62% a year ago.
Curiously, Facebook didn't share any new metrics around its daily video views. Instead Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg used the earnings call to talk up the effectiveness of video ads on Facebook in more general terms. "With so many videos being watched on Facebook, video ads are a natural part of the newsfeed experience," she said. In April, the company revealed that Facebook viewers were watching 4 billion videos a day on average, after reaching 3 billion at the end of last year.