When Facebook bought Oculus in 2014, the obvious question — besides “Seriously? Two billion dollars?”— was what the social media giant had in mind for the virtual reality company. Wild guesses drifted from giant VR newsfeeds towering over your head to Facebook ads popping up in the middle of a video game.
Now three years down the line, Facebook has finally got the cat out of the bag with Facebook Spaces — a new beta app for Oculus Rift that lets you hang out with your friends in virtual reality.
We took a sneak peek inside the app. Here’s what we learned.
An Outer Space Experience: What is Facebook Spaces in practice?
Over the past five years, virtual reality has made huge strides — from implantable wearables to entertainment, it is steadily spreading everywhere. But for something that was meant to create interactions, Virtual reality is still starkly an individual experience.
And that’s what Facebook is planning to overcome with Spaces. Leveraging its day-to-day ubiquity, the social network is trying to make this technology more relatable than it was ever before.
But what, exactly, do you do in Facebook Spaces?
There’s a bunch of different stuff you can do in Spaces, but it primarily focuses on interacting with a small group of people. You can invite up to three Facebook friends, at once, into your virtual world. (Here comes the nick: You can only socialize in VR with people who own an Oculus Rift headset!)
That’s not it. You can even do other fun stuff like:
#1. Be yourself in VR
Choose one of your Facebook photos to create a VR avatar for Spaces.
You can customize your appearance by changing the eye color, hairstyle, facial features and more until you are satisfied with your look.
#2. Take selfies together
You can take virtual reality selfies of your avatar that can be saved or posted on your Facebook wall.
#3. Chat with friends who aren’t in VR
The app even lets you Messenger video call a friend in the real world to chat with you in your virtual space.
#4. Explore 360-degree videos with friends
You can watch 360-degree videos with the people you’re sharing the Space with.
#5. Create your own 3-D games
You can draw anything with a virtual marker tool – from decorative props to a handmade board games and can move your artwork around in the air.
The app also gives you a full control over your VR experience. You can mute friends or remove them from your space. You can even pause it any time to move into a quiet space where you can take a break away from other people and activities.
Give us some space!
The more we learn about Facebook Spaces, the more interesting the concept becomes. As per Facebook, this beta version is just a scratch on the the surface of social VR. New features will be added and the experience will be expanded to other platforms over time.
Just like you, we can’t wait to see whether the app will being a sea of endless opportunities or will it lose its charm just like Snapchat did!
For more information and updates about Facebook Spaces, stay tuned to 42Works’ space.