What will friending, sharing, and messaging look like in virtual reality? Facebook has tapped video game giant Electronic Arts’ VP Rachel Rubin Franklin as the new head of the Facebook Social VR team. Last week, Mark Zuckerberg presented an exciting demo of how friends can play and explore together in VR thanks to Facebook, and Franklin will now work to bring that experience to the world.
Franklin has worked at EA since 2011 before being poached by Facebook. There she was an executive producer, GM, and VP on the studio running the blockbuster game The Sims 4, which was the best selling PC game of 2014 and 2015, moving over 5 million copies. She previously worked at cloud gaming startup OnLive, as well as game studio Activision after enaring a degree in applied math and computer science from Carnegie Mellon.
Franklin will work with Facebook’s other Social VR leadership, including Michael Booth and Lucy Bradshaw who virtually appeared on stage with Zuck during the demo at the Oculus Connect 3 conference. Regarding her hiring, Facebook’s CTO Mike Schroepfer wrote “It is a blast to fuse the experience of people who have developed many successful immersive online worlds with engineers who have decades of collective experience building Facebook.”
The challenge for Facebook Social VR is creating a product that delivers the potential of virtual reality headsets to deliver intimate social interaction for people geographically separated, while making the experience feel familiar and accessible to Facebook’s 1.71 billion users.