What is Facebook Spaces?
It’s a new way to connect with your friends in virtual reality, according to Facebook. If you, like millions of others, use FB to stay in touch with loved ones who live elsewhere, Spaces will make those Messenger chats feel as though you’re hanging out in the same room when in reality you’re in a different city, country or continent.
How does it work?
By creating an imaginary virtual space where you can chat to your friends. Using your profile pic, you create an avatar of yourself that your friends will see, and vice-versa for you and their avatars, as they roam the virtual space.
The personalisation options are endless. Choose your picture from your Facebook Photos, select an avatar and tweak everything from hair and eye colour to facial features.
This is all made possible by virtual reality. To enter this virtual world and chat to your friends’ avatars, you need to don the Oculus Rift VR headset and download the Facebook Spaces app on it.
What else can I do in Spaces
There’s more to Spaces than simply chatting. You can impress your friends by….
- Drawing smiley faces and doodling with the virtual marker
- Exploring new worlds with 360 video and photos of far-flung places
- Throwing a virtual birthday party for friends with virtual cake and candles
- Taking virtual selfies with the virtual selfie stick
Facebook and Oculus Rift
The whole idea of social VR dates back to 2014 when Facebook bought Oculus VR for an eye-watering 2 billion dollars. Today, VR headsets are common, but when the Oculus Rift made its debut several years ago they were not.
When Facebook bought Oculus, the Rift had yet to be released but it had already been ‘getting the video games industry very excited’ for a couple of years, says the BBC tech reporter Dave Lee.
In buying Oculus Facebook for the first time made virtual reality about more than gaming.
Want to know more? Virtual reality goes mainstream
Friends who don’t have Oculus
VR is still relatively niche, and unless you work in, say, Silicon Valley it’s unlikely all your friends (or even most) will have an Oculus Rift headset.
Luckily, you can still invite these friends into your Spaces chats for video calls. They won’t have an avatar; and they won’t be able to see your avatars or the virtual world. You will see them though. They’ll appear like a live video stream in your virtual Spaces world.
Ready to hang out in Facebook Spaces? Get your Oculus Rift
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