Facebook Spaces – is virtual reality the future of social media?

When announcing their purchase of Oculus VR for $2 billion in 2014, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote, “This is really a new communication platform. By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life.”

Upon Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus, Facebook clearly had a plan to make virtual reality an integrated feature of its social media offering, and Zuckerberg confirmed that Facebook will be investing more than $3 billion in VR when Zuckerberg testified at a court case over alleged stolen technology.

Whilst Facebook’s 360-degree video and image support has been a part of the platform since 2015, Facebook hasn’t yet fully integrated VR into the social media offering, but Facebook’s Spaces, still in beta, is an attempt to do exactly this.

What is Spaces?

Spaces is Facebook’s attempt to help the masses to adopt virtual reality into their everyday lives. Spaces utilises avatars that are a likeness of Facebook users and has them interact with each other at events that are captured in 360-degree video. If you can’t attend a friend’s wedding, for example, you can relive the event by watching it in virtual reality from a specific vantage point. You can also create digital hangouts with friends in an interactive virtual environment, have your avatars chat through Facebook Messenger, have Facebook Live broadcasts, and capture virtual selfies with virtual selfie sticks.

Spaces is still in development and can only be used with VR headsets like the Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR and HTC Vive, but Facebook is looking into developing a new wireless headset which doesn’t need to be connected to a computer to work, and also doesn’t need an external camera.

Spaces isn’t an integrated part of Facebook yet, but be sure to keep an eye out for it. Virtual reality is becoming a key component of the Internet of Things, and it just makes sense that it will soon be a part of our social media experience, too.

See a demo of Facebook Spaces here, and read more about it here.

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