On March 25, 2014, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook ($FB) announced that it would be acquiring VR company Oculus. The news ratified the import of VR as a technology — Facebook laid down $2 billion for the acquisition — and futurists couldn't help but speculate the coming of a VR-based social network in which we would one day "be" with our Facbeook friends in virtual worlds.

This week, more than five years after Oculus' acquisiton, Facebook announced "Horizon", its virtual-reality universe in which users will build their own spaces and worlds to interact with one another. The virtual "world beyond your world" features Nintendo Wii-like, legless avatars that uses Oculus VR headsets to plug Facebook users into VR.

Zuckerberg calls it "another step towards building the kind of social infrastructure that we believe is going to be important in the future".

The announcement is a massive show of support for VR, an industry that has struggled to see the quantum leaps in content and computer interaction that it has so often promised.

But Facebook isn't just making announcements — it's launching a fresh hiring spree for its Oculus division — a category of jobs at Facebook that had virtually ceased being used since July 2018.

That date is significant, because it's also when any jobs with even the term "Oculus" in their titles tumbled from 151 to just 24 positions in just over a month. It was also around that time that industry experst began second guessing the import of and consumer interest in VR: Facebook re-bundled a less-expensive Oculus kit for direct sales to businesses, and retail sales showed signs of slumber. The hiring slowdown also came after a massive hiring spree just previous, when the Oculus division at Facebook had more than 300 openings in 2018.

But things appear to be turning around for Oculus as Horizon nears launch: On August 19, 2019, 87 new positions appeared on Facebook's careers site, all of which were tagged once again to the "Oculus" category.

As of this week, the number of Oculus jobs at Facebook has swelled to 108.


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Most of the new positions are to be located at Facebook's Redmond and Meno Park facilities, with several other satellite offices opening up positions for small teams.

In terms of what the new Oculus employees will do, the hires appear to largely engineering focused (69 include the term "Engineer" in their titles), indicating that Oculus and Facebook are hard at work on new technology — including hardare — to dovetail with the launch of Horizon as interest in the technology (hopefully) picks up.

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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