Marketing 3 min read

Facebook Spaces Opts to Keep Social VR Simple

Facebook Spaces democratizes and simplifies Social VR, allowing friends without VR infrastructure to access friend experiences with just a smartphone.

Facebook Spaces | Rachel Franklin, Head of Social VR | Newsroom.fb.com

Facebook Spaces | Rachel Franklin, Head of Social VR | Newsroom.fb.com

Facebook Spaces has a long way to go –but it shows promise in developing compelling social experiences within virtual reality.

What is “Facebook Spaces“?

Facebook Spaces is the beta version of a new “social-oriented” virtual reality experience designed for Facebookers. The experience is something reminiscent of Hulu VR, and we can already see fans of Facebook Live exploiting this new feature (especially since you don’t have to buy a VR headset).

 

What is Facebook’s strategy?

Facebook Spaces | Facebook.com

In an interview with Technology Review, Rachel Franklin, former VR executive producer and general manager of The Sims for Electronic Arts and head of social VR for Facebook Spaces, admitted:

“There’s plenty more to do [so that users] feel like ‘Hey, I relate to this and I relate to myself.’ Of course I notice stuff, like the hair. We had some ladies’ hair and I literally freaked out: ‘This is terrible! Whoever made this, we can’t ship with this!’ Hair is super hard. And I’m always like, okay, we have much more to do, but this hair was completely unacceptable. It was like big, thick slabs. You’d swing your beautiful hair and it would—it was not good. So [I think we learn] from little things like that…’

Facebook Spaces | Facebook.com

Ben Lang of Road to VR, tells us that, despite its flaws, Spaces demonstrates some good core concepts of socializing in VR:

  • Social VR doesn’t necessarily require virtual exploration of a virtual environment. Spaces puts the emphasis on what they are doing together, not where they are doing it within the virtual space.
  • Social VR isn’t only about doing, it’s also about sharing. Few other social VR apps today make it easy to share media from your real life with friends in VR.
  • Social VR isn’t only about VR. Spaces not only lets users connect with friends who don’t have VR equipment, but it also lets those non-VR people literally see into the virtual world through their smartphone, opening the door to a massively larger group of people who can participate in social VR [through Messenger].
Facebook Spaces could be the simple, accessible social VR we've been waiting for.Click To Tweet

Our Takeaway on the Future of Social VR

As USA Today points out, the requirements for a social VR experience include “Oculus Rift headgear, Rift wireless Touch hand controllers, and [a] pricey PC to make it all work”. In fact, the estimated total price for basic VR tech hovers somewhere around the $2000 price point. Still, although many people don’t own VR technology as of yet, social VR will no doubt play a key role in the future of social media networking and telecommunication in years to come. Furthermore, with the rise in average PC processing power and advent of the PS4 VR headset (retailing at a surprisingly reasonable $400) late last year, this Christmas stands to inspire a new wave of early adopters.

Facebook Spaces | Facebook.com

Considering Facebook is considered a keystone network, it makes sense that their company is dedicated to capitalizing on this market early. That being said, they may have done themselves more harm than good with their premature beta launch –purchasers of exclusive (and expensive) items rarely take “unfinished” to be a strong initial product impression.

Found this article interesting?

Let Stephanie know how much you appreciate this article by clicking the heart icon and by sharing this article on social media.


Profile Image

Stephanie

Comments (0)
Most Recent most recent
You
share Scroll to top

Link Copied Successfully

Sign in

Sign in to access your personalized homepage, follow authors and topics you love, and clap for stories that matter to you.

Sign in with Google Sign in with Facebook

By using our site you agree to our privacy policy.