Facebook Finally Has A Virtual Reality Product

Virtually speaking, that is.

Facebook acquired Oculus Rift for a whopping $2 billion in 2014 at a time when virtual reality and augmented reality were really starting to become popular. "Is Facebook going to be the moderator of their virtual world, if you will, and what does all that mean?" Evidently they did have some plans for it.

Spaces is now only available on the Oculus Rift, but other platforms will soon have access to the app. "We eventually want to be on all the VR platforms", Facebook product manager Mike Booth told TechCrunch's Lucas Matney.

But at this point, there's not a lot you can do once you've logged in. You know, sort of like a real person. The selection of photos for us was a little limited, but the service will create an avatar based on the photo you choose. At the moment, no doubt the avatars are a bit on the goofy side and I imagine there's a bit of a learning curve, but everything new has to start somewhere. Once your avatar is ready. you can interact wit your friends in a virtual setting. People we didn't have much in common with, but who we became "friends" with so we wouldn't feel isolated.

This platform is now being launched in beta for access through the Oculus Rift headset and Touch controllers. "There wasn't enough to do - and if none of your friends have Oculus, you are a party of one, which is contrary to how Facebook is all about connecting with your friends".

"The news feed does not represent the way we interact with people in the real world", he notes. Do we need a physical TV, or can we watch a virtual one?

But the creepiest thing about Facebook Spaces is that your VR clone can only smile. (Those of us with disabilities, literally can't). It is a VR app where users can experience a virtual environment with fellow users as if they were all together in the same room.

Then, though, it seems that the possibilities are endless. For example, Subway is now enabling U.S. customers to pre-order at 26,500 locations, while the Golden State Warriors NBA team now has a bot that will send fans live scores video highlights and make it easier for fans to connect with each other. But Zuckerberg sees this as a social experience. Once you have established this "company" of friends and colleagues, the interaction can take place through the Messenger app itself and VR enables a 360 degree manipulation of the images and to make changes to the backdrop even.

  • Arturo Norris