April 18 at the F8 Conference Facebook released Facebook Spaces, their long-awaited VR platform for social interactions
Facebook created a new way for your Facebook friends (and strangers) to chat and spend time together. Are you excited? Well maybe you should be.
Facebook Spaces is live on Oculus Rift store. The app is still in beta but already boasts support for up to 4 people who can chat, draw, create, and have a good time with their Internet friends in a lot of VR environments.
Facebook shows us how the new service can help in organizing events, offers you the possibility to watch shows together in a virtual living room, and just have fun around your buddies who may be thousands of miles away.
This new VR experience will probably cost you around $600. While the app is completely free (as well as Facebook of course), the headset alone costs $500. That does not include a $90 investment in Oculus Touch controllers, without which Facebook Spaces can't provide interaction with objects and other features.
Not any computer can run Facebook Spaces, though. Rift store recommends using NVIDIA GTX 970 or AMD 290 graphics cards – which means potential Facebook Spaces users must have a higher-end, games-oriented machine that could cost anywhere between $400 and $800.
Blurring the boundaries between gaming and social?
More than a year ago Oculus Rift pre-orders sold out in 15 minutes. With the VR hype still pretty much on we may see a very real interest in VR and its technology not only from tech enthusiasts, but also from ordinary Facebook users eager to try and test the latest tech. Facebook offers an interesting perspective on what looked like a completely gaming-oriented market.
Early VR experiences are now dominated by tech demos and hastily created shovelware made by developers who are in a hurry to capitalize on the interest of the general public in VR.
And VR is not yet proving that it can make games better, either. It can make games more immersive, sure, but not mechanically better. What about social settings then? Since their first sneak peeks at the new concept in 2016, Facebook is vigorously following their vision that someday using VR and gamification they could make chat rooms and text-heavy interactions in general obsolete.