Facebook launches Facebook Spaces, its first real VR app

Wednesday, 19 Apr, 2017

Virtual reality might not be catching on as fast as some early adopters would have liked, but it's certainly not dying any time soon. Here's a look at the features of Facebook Spaces.

The upshot of this is that while there have been only a few hundred thousand Rifts sold, 1.2 billion monthly Messenger users will now be able to take part directly in mixed-reality communications involving personal friends or family members, something that Facebook is clearly hoping will motivate more people to try out virtual reality. This helps people recognize you and makes VR feel more like hanging out in person. To that point, Facebook allows you to use a virtual marker to create 3D shapes that you can move in VR - a neat idea in lieu of allowing you to import virtual objects from a library of assets.

The app has been launched in beta for Oculus Rift, the headset built Facebook-owned VR firm Oculus, and will enable users to create a digital avatar of themselves based on their Facebook photos. It's all about being yourself. You can invite anyone with a Facebook Messenger account to join a virtual party or chat. Facebook also showed off creating artwork, playing games, listening to music and watching 360 videos in VR. Bring Anyone In On the Fun Why should the people in VR have all the fun? Call a friend who isn't in VR, and they can answer on their phone to instantly open a window into your virtual world.

Once in a shared space, users can access a curated selection of 360-degree photos and videos to virtually "travel" to these locations. Of course, there's a selfie stick too.

With Revive installed, the SteamVR launcher will show Facebook Spaces in the list of Oculus apps. 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 also choose to mute your friends or remove them from your space. "You're connecting with others in a more immersive way".