Facebook explores News Feed VR content with 'Jumanji' scavenger hunt
- Facebook has started testing branded virtual reality (VR) content in News Feed with a scavenger hunt game for the upcoming release of Sony Pictures' "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," according to a blog post by Oculus, which Facebook owns. For users who don't have VR hardware, the content is viewable in a 360-degree video version.
- In the game, users can wander the movie's jungle setting collecting virtual tokens and exploring scenes from the film. The immersive experience was shot in 360-degree video and edited into VR experiences with Facebook's React VR developer kit and Oculus, per Engadget.
- The "Jumanji" scavenger hunt is one of several VR experiences that Oculus has recently announced, including a tour of the British Museum and a USA Today tour of a Kentucky distillery.
Facebook has sunk a lot of resources into VR — it acquired Oculus for $2 billion in 2014 — but the technology's appeal with many consumers appears to have cooled as devices like the Rift are often viewed as clunky and costly. Integrating more VR experiences such as the "Jumanji" promotion directly into News Feed, Facebook's core product, along with making them gamified and highly interactive, is a bid by the company to re-spark some interest by demonstrating how accessible and fun the technology can be.
To account for some of the hurdles to true VR adoption, Facebook and its partners are developing more 360-degree videos, which offer a "VR-lite" experience and are more accommodating to mobile phones and simple headsets. In June last year, Facebook rolled out 360-degree video to its News Feed but more full-fledged VR arriving now is a significant upgrade with potentially rich opportunities for marketers.
By linking the content to a movie stocked with well-known actors like Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart and Jack Black ahead of its Dec. 20 release, Facebook might be able to drive buzz and engagement around the feature. At the same time, the VR content for "Jumanji" adds excitement for the upcoming film, fleshing out its story and characters in an immersive way.