Hugo Barra joins Facebook to lead its VR efforts, including Oculus

Hugo Barra, who previously held a positions as a key VP for Android at Google, and led Xiaomi’s international efforts in a VP role at the Chinese company, is now joining Facebook. Barra announced his departure from Xiaomi on January 22, after a three-and-a-half year stint at the company. Barra will lead all of Facebook’s VR efforts, including Oculus, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who shared the news on his FB profile.

Barra fills a gap left behind when Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe stepped down from the top stop at the Facebook-owned virtual reality company, moving instead into a role leading Oculus’ PC-focused VR efforts.

In his announcement of the news, Zuckerberg noted that he’s known Barra since the ex-Android exec helped develop the world-leading mobile OS, and that Barra believes, along with Zuckberberg himself, that VR and AR are going to be the next big computing platform after mobile. Facebook will spend over $3 billion over the next decade to help spread VR to the masses, Zuckerberg revealed in testimony in an ongoing lawsuit against Oculus by ZeniMax, the former employer of Oculus CTO John Carmack.

Barra helped Xiaomi introduce its own Mi VR headset, and speaking to Bloomberg last year, he had plenty of praise for Google’s Daydream VR platform. He also talked about it as a tech that will likely come to fruition more in 2017, which makes it apt that he’s joining Facebook this year to help that company further its VR efforts.

When he posted about his departure from Xiaomi, Barra noted that he was going to be headed back to Silicon Valley, and it looks like he’ll be very close to his old stomping grounds indeed.

Barra himself added that he “can’t wait to get started” in the new role:

“It’s been a dream of mine to work in virtual reality even back when AR/VR were just figments of science fiction; now we’re taking selfies in virtual worlds :) I learned from Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun that there’s no greater calling in our industry than taking breakthrough tech and making it available to the greatest number of people,” he said.

Ibe himself even got in on the comments.

“I’m thrilled to join forces and look forward to learning from you Hugo. The best team in the world just got even better!” he said.