Facebook Spaces come to Facebook Live in a bid to make social VR more, uh, sociable
Earlier this year Facebook introduced Facebook Spaces, a new virtual-reality environment that let you socialise with your friends in VR by using Oculus Rift. Now, after months of people hosting chat sessions and fooling around in VR rooms, Facebook is expanding Spaces to include Facebook Live support.
Facebook hopes this will mean more people use Spaces to interact with their friends who can’t use VR to contact one another. According to Facebook’s announcement, the integration is intended to “give the people you care about a window into your VR world”. I may be a tad cynical, but I have a feeling it will amount to little more than seeing some people goof around in VR while you scroll past on your News Feed in search of another “Tasty” video or general meme.
For those in Facebook Spaces, broadcasting a video to Facebook Live takes the form of dropping a video camera into your space and positioning it where you’d like it to be in the 3D environment. Essentially it turns your VR world into a TV set where friends, family and people on the internet you never knew existed can peer into your world.
It’s likely the integration of Live with Spaces will turn Facebook Spaces users into avatar-based TV show hosts. Expect to see a push from various channels where they deliver news and skits in VR rather than in a studio in front of a camera.
Facebook Spaces users can currently send videos and snippets to friends via Messenger, so claiming that Live integration will help people connect with friends more is a tad peculiar. Still, it’s great to see that Facebook is opening up its push for social VR rather than siloing it away.
VR still has its naysayers – and will do so for years to come – but at least Facebook is attempting to push the medium forward in new ways. Last year I experienced the delight of MetaWorld, an open-world social VR space where hundreds of players can interact with each other at once. Social VR may sound peculiar but the act of simply speaking to another human being, seeing their hand and head movements while they talk, is incredibly powerful. If Facebook Spaces can help experiences like this gain traction then I, for one, support it – even if Facebook Live is generally annoying to watch.
If you’d like to get involved in creating your own Facebook Spaces experiences, you’ll need to own an Oculus Rift and a VR-capable machine. Oculus is currently offering Rift and Oculus Touch for £400 so you aspiring VR videographers can snap one up at an absolute steal of a price.