67 million Filipinos are on Facebook. That’s 63% of the country. Facebook isn’t just the top social media network in the Philippines, however. With a user base of 2 billion users, it’s also the #1 social media site in the world. It currently has countless browser games, support for different kinds of ads, and live streaming. And, recently, Facebook started developing virtual reality.
Facebook Spaces is an app that allows you to interact with 3 Facebook friends in virtual reality. Its beta version has been live since April 2017. Since then, test users and commenters alike have noted a few things to know about the app.
7 Things to Know About Facebook Spaces
You can currently download Facebook Spaces for Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. With the Rift, you’ll also need two Oculus Touch controllers. As of now, the app’s user base is still small, mainly because of how much the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive cost ($399 and $499 respectively). However, partly due to competition between the headsets, prices have already dropped and may come down even more in the near future. Facebook is also trying to try augmented reality, which would allow Spaces to expand further.
Users appear in Spaces as “avatars” or 3D caricatures of themselves. A user’s avatar is either designed manually or based on tagged photos of the user. The avatars sit across each other in the virtual environment, where users can share media, have voice chats, and take tours through other virtual spaces. Motion-capture technology allows the avatars to mimic their users with life-like detail. In the case of a voice chat, your avatar’s mouth will flap open and shut accordingly.
You can use a mirror, a selfie stick, a pencil, and stickers within the virtual environment. The primary tools are a mirror, a selfie-stick and a pencil you can use to write in the air. There’s also things like stickers and pre-made drawings that you can use to decorate your environment. You can save drawings and pull them out again later. Use the mirror to make copies of your avatar.
You can make certain gestures to get your avatar to emote. Think of it as the VR counterpart of the emoji. Users on the Rift can point their two thumbsticks up to make their avatars laugh, or outward to smile. Pressing both controllers to one’s face will get an “oh!” face from the avatar. Turning the controllers outward makes the avatar shrug and look confused.
There’s live streaming on Spaces, too! The app has supported live streaming since July 2018. VR users can share their experiences with Facebook friends outside Spaces. Broadcasts will simply appear in friends’ news feeds like any other post.
You can dig up an old 360-degree photosphere and use it as a backdrop. Spaces has several preset environments, but you’re free to use your own. Users can relive memories by turning familiar backyards and old hangouts into backdrops.
Companies may soon be able to bring Spaces into their marketing campaigns. Hotel, theme park, and real estate businesses can show clients around over VR. Conferences such as Social Media Marketing World can cater to audience members who aren’t actually physically present. Home improvement stores and landscaping companies could also use VR to give clients a preview of a countertop installation or a sculpted lawn. Potential customers will be more confident after seeing live previews of what they’re about to avail.
From the first point alone, it’s clear that Facebook Spaces hasn’t caught on just yet. At the same time, though, this app already has much potential as a marketing tool. Take note that it hasn’t even officially exited its beta testing phase. Who knows how much more immersive this app will be five years from now? Spaces is one development that you might want to keep tabs on.
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