Facebook's Spaces Lets You Socialize In The Virtual Reality Realm

By Donna Bellevue , Apr 21, 2017 05:38 AM EDT

Facebook just unveiled Spaces, a virtual reality platform where you can hang out with your friends in a digital dimension. The platform allows users to share photos, videos, drawings, and more in the VR realm using cartoon avatars. Facebook's social VR chief, Rachel Rubin Franklin, announced that the tech giant is rolling out immediately the beta version of Spaces during the keynote at F8 conference on Tuesday.

Franklin said after a preview of Spaces on Monday that the company is a people-first computing platform. They acknowledge people's social needs as fundamentally important in their company. People crave to be with people they care about, and if they can't do that in person, the next best thing to being with your loved one is through the VR world.

According to USA Today, Facebook's Space require an Oculus Rift and Touch virtual reality hardware to enter the VR realm populated by cartoon avatars. It was first tried by CEO Mark Zuckerberg last October before an audience during the Oculus Connect conference. Shown in avatar form, Zuckerberg and colleagues played with their latest platform by sharing photos and taking selfies in a 360-degree rendition of Zuckerberg's home.

Per  CNET, Franklin also mentioned that the VR platform will also eventually be open to software developers so they can build on what the social network has started. She also explained how VR works by saying that if your avatar takes a selfie, you tend to smile in real life, too. This makes your avatar in the VR space still very much you, and your experience with other people's avatars could still be very real as you immerse in the technology that combines physicality and socialization.

The Facebook Spaces experience is now available to anyone in possession of Oculus Rift VR goggles and its Touch controllers. Together with a powerful PC required to access the VR world, it costs around $1,600, as well as a requirement that the Facebook friends you invite must also own an Oculus gear. The pricey cost of VR gears is what makes the technology inaccessible to most people, making Spaces available to just a few people for now.

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