Facebook’s new attempt at making VR reach masses

Every now and then we keep telling you about the various things which you can do in virtual reality but to be honest, a true believer of this thought is Facebook. The company believes that there is a lot more to VR which we are not aware of. Working on the same ideology, the company has added a live-streaming feature to its virtual reality app Spaces. From now on, Spaces users can position a virtual camera and stream a two-dimensional feed of themselves to people outside VR. Viewers can send reactions and comments just as they would on a normal Facebook Live video and streamers will see both these reactions and comments, floating in space.

Spaces is a virtual environment for the Oculus Rift which was launched earlier this year at Facebook’s F8 conference. At that time, it allowed users outside VR to “dial in” using Facebook Messenger. Highlighting the addition of the new live-stream feature, Mike Booth, product manager for Facebook’s social VR team said, “We really wanted to expand on that experience and let you hang out with your friends who don’t yet have VR. The core thing that we’re trying to do here is bridge that divide between people who have VR and the vast majority of people that don’t have VR and may not know what VR is. A lot of people either don’t know what VR is, or they think that VR is not for them. They think it’s a high tech thing for gamers to blow up robots and kill zombies with.” Booth further added, “We really want to just put this technology out there and see what people do with it.”

It seems as an interesting addition as the platform offers some option which the normal Facebook Live doesn’t. Streamers can also drag comments around as physical props in VR, and, depending on the virtual environment they’ve chosen, they can appear to be streaming from just about anywhere. Though on the downside, Spaces is only available for Facebook’s Oculus Rift, which frankly doesn’t occupy a big part of the VR user base. Since it is also based on hand motions and body language to create a sense of virtual presence, it won’t work on Oculus’ more accessible but lower-end Gear VR anytime soon.

Despite being available for several months, there’s been little sign of the Spaces app being welcomed by the Rift users and Facebook hasn’t released user data for the app, which is why this latest update might be their best bet at collecting more non-VR user interest. Since the update is available immediately, we will soon be able to gauge the popularity of the app based on the number of VR broadcasts we get to see on Facebook. Do check their demonstration video, showing off the new feature.

If you get to lay your hands on this new Spaces update, do share your feedback with us. Till then keep coming back to know what’s happening in the VR world. Because we are, where VR is!


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