Ever since Facebook bought Oculus back in 2014 the social giant has been keen on pushing the fact that virtual reality (VR) doesn’t have to be an isolating, singular experience, it can also be social, possibly more social than other communication systems. This really came to fruition during Facebook’s 10th annual F8 conference in April with the launch of Facebook Spaces on Oculus Rift. To truly be social however Facebook Spaces needs to be on more headsets and today that’s happened, expanding support to rival HTC Vive.
So from today, it doesn’t matter if you own an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive you’ll be able to chat and use all the functionality of Facebook Spaces. Details of the cross-platform compatibility were revealed today by Facebook Head of Social VR Rachel Franklin, who said:
“VR is such a powerful way to feel present with the people you care about when you can’t physically be together. With Facebook Spaces, we’ve always been committed to bringing the power of social VR to as many people as possible, across platforms and devices.
“That’s why I’m super excited to announce that today we’re taking Facebook Spaces cross-platform for the first time, making it possible for even more people to spend time with their friends and family in VR. HTC Vive owners can now use Spaces with a Vive headset — just download from http://facebook.com/spaces.
“In the new app, Vive owners will find all the same fun features as the Rift version — you can create your own avatar, view Facebook photos and 360 videos, play games, draw with markers, go Live, make Messenger video calls, and (my favorite) take awesome selfies. Plus it’s cross-platform compatible, so Vive users can also hang out in Spaces with friends who use Rift.
“This is our first expansion onto a new platform, but it’s only the beginning: We’re working to bring Facebook Spaces to even more VR platforms and devices in the future, so stay tuned.”
This is a bold move by Facebook as it looks to encourage more users to its platform. While this year has seen big reductions in price for Oculus Rift, the headset is still seen as lagging behind HTC Vive and market leader PlayStation VR – which Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) recently revealed has sold 2 million worldwide. What’ll be interesting to see is which other VR headsets Facebook Spaces will come to, PlayStation VR, Windows Mixed Reality, Vive Focus?
When these details become available VRFocus will let you know.