Remember when Facebook bought Oculus and everyone got really upset. Okay, not everyone, but many gamers felt like it was weird to imagine a future where VR would be used for socializing instead of gaming. Well, now Mark Zuckerberg has shown off what exactly that means, showcasing a social use of Virtual Reality.
I would embed the video here, but it isn’t cooperating with me because it’s using a weird player application. Instead, you can watch it for yourself over here if you really want to, otherwise I’ll tell you all about it anyway.
Once Mark put on the headset, he could see avatars of his two friends. Avatars can make eye contact and software can even be used to make your avatar smile or do some exaggerated surprise faces. People can then have a meeting around a table, either in a virtual office, or under water or on Mars if they prefer. People can even play a virtual card game or chess – I can definitely imagine an uptick in social gaming on Facebook again once all the virtual poker games are shifted to actual virtual reality.
But wait, there’s more:
Users can also watch video together in VR, and a player can hold the screen and zoom the screen up and down to create a private movie theater in the virtual space. The software lets users take Facebook Messenger calls and interact with other people using virtual screens to project things like video calls.
Seeing it in action, I have some mixed feelings. Just watching the video gave me a bit of a headache and feel a bit dizzy. Obviously the frame rates or something aren’t quite right – not all VR makes me feel ill, but less than great VR will certainly do so. Still, it does look pretty cool and I really like the idea behind it. As someone who hates traffic and putting on normal clothes in order to go for meetings, this could be a great solution. My avatar could be professionally dressed for the meeting while I happily take part in my slippers without ever having to get in my car.
The possibilities for Facebook VR activities are actually way more interesting than I had previously imagined. Sure, the software will need lots of work to avoid nausea, but that’s workable. The core concept seems pretty solid.
Last Updated: October 7, 2016