Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg may not have gotten into programming had it not been for video games, the 31-year-old billionaire said this week during a town hall Q&A meeting. As part of his presentation, Zuckerberg advised parents to let their children play video games.
“Letting them play around with stuff is one of the best things you can do,” Zuckerberg said, as reported by USA Today.
Zuckerberg grew up in upstate New York, which typically gets hammered by lake effect snow. He shared that, because his sisters wouldn’t have snowball fights with him, he decided to build a snowball fighting video game. “It was a terrible game,” he said, but pointed out that working on such projects is what inspired him to get into computer programming.
“I do think this dynamic around kids growing up, building games and playing games, is an important one because I think this is how a lot of kids get into programming,” he explained. “I definitely would not have gotten into programming if I had not played games as a kid.”
“Most of the engineers I know, who are some of the best engineers in the world, are self-taught,” he added. “We need to work on this to get more exposure out to people.”
Also during the Q&A, Zuckerberg revealed that Facebook’s overall goal for its Oculus Rift headset is to eventually update the design over time to look more like “normal glasses.” The Oculus Rift consumer model launches in the first quarter of 2016, meaning it should arrive before April 2016.
Facebook paid $2 billion to buy Oculus VR, developer of the Rift headset, in March 2014.
In addition, Zuckerberg talked about the potential for augmented reality technology like Microsoft’s HoloLens. Though Microsoft may have a working prototype at the moment, Zuckerberg said he doesn’t foresee technology of this nature truly taking off for years.
“It’s going to take five, seven, 10, maybe 12 years to build that out, to have something that really works and is cheap enough for everyone around the world to use,” he said.
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