Facebook Spaces launches in beta today on Oculus Rift + Touch. The product is a first taste of Facebook’s ambitions to bring social interaction into 3D virtual spaces.
With Spaces, those who have bought into the Oculus ecosystem can connect their Facebook accounts and dive into an environment where communication isn’t about chat messages, but voice and avatar body language.
The most noteworthy highlight of Spaces’ release is that it will be launching on the Oculus Rift but will soon be expanding to other VR platforms. “We eventually want to be on all the VR platforms,” Facebook product manager Mike Booth told.
Don’t expect Spaces to be available on the smartphone-based VR systems that you see today. Samsung and Oculus’ Gear VR platform relies on 360 fixed-point movement, which doesn’t lend itself well to expressing yourself in VR. For the Gear VR, Facebook has shown off Facebook 360, an app for viewing 360 photos and videos.
In a recent earnings call, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called virtual reality something that won’t see its full potential realized for another 10 years. Currently, there are between 30-50 Facebook employees working on Social VR, but with augmented reality and virtual reality growing central to Facebook’s core product, these teams are sure to grow massive as more people buy headsets.
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