Facebook’s Social Virtual Reality – Spaces

Through Facebook Spaces, the company is set to enhance the VR experience for its Oculus Rift users. Recently, the social media giant dropped prices for Oculus Rift.

According to a report by IDC, AR/VR market is expected to touch $143.3Billion by 2020.

The news comes after Facebook recently released a video of its solar powered drone in remote areas beaming with an internet connection – all in an attempt to connect the world.

A recent interactive video on Facebook’s official page shows friends sharing travel plans and apartment features with each other– all through virtual reality (VR).

Facebook recently launched it’s social VR section called Spaces for its Oculus Rift users.  According to Engadget, Spaces is currently only available on the Rift but could extend to more platforms.

Such extensions to the social media giant will allow Rift users to share their VR with anyone and everyone.  Spaces can let users go live from VR making it simpler for friends to follow on Facebook in real time. The feature also enables friends to watch and comment on the real time video stream. Rift users can also make and receive Messenger video calls with friends who are not in the VR mode.

The feature creates virtual images of users (selfies in virtual mode) where in friends can be invited to join in. 360 videos, photos, drawing 3D objects with virtual markers and sharing selfies of VR memories could soon become integral to the Facebook timeline.

Facebook had recently dropped prices on Oculus Rift headsets and controllers for a limited period of time. The Oculus Rift headset and its matching controllers today costs close to $399 which is $400 less than when it was first introduced to the market.

The attempt for cutting prices was to attract more customers amidst growing competition from companies like Samsung and Sony that are gaining momentum in the Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality industry.

The VR headsets have been in popular demand and have accounted for 98% of the total 23million VR/AR headsets that were shipped in the first quarter of this year. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), Facebook was the third largest supplier after Samsung Gear VR and Sony’s PlayStation VR.

But interestingly, Oculus Rift is yet to generate revenues for Facebook.

In 2014, the company CEO, Mark Zuckerberg had shared his excitement of the $2billion VR acquisition of Oculus Rift through a Facebook video.  But in 2017, Facebook’s Oculus found itself in an intellectual property lawsuit that resulted in its parent company, Facebook shelling out $500 million towards damages.

A video games developer, Zenimax, which owns id Software, a video games developer, had sued Facebook for $2bn. Oculus Rift has gone through a number of changes including one of its founders, Palmer Luckey quitting in March 2017.

Recently, Facebook hired a former vice president of Xiaomi and Google to lead the company’s VR team. A few months back, Oculus was split into two divisions: one that focuses on developing VR for mobiles and another that will concentrate on the PCs. All these efforts are being made to make VR an integral part of Facebook, supplemented by Facebook’s growing stream of revenues through live stream videos.

For long, the company has been trying to connect different platforms, which would mean full utilization of its huge user platform and a variety of product offerings. Clearly, Instagram is one of them. The photo-sharing app currently ranks at number 7 with over 600 million monthly active accounts and has become a living nightmare for Snap.

Over a period of time, Facebook has acquired over 50 companies that include WhatsApp and Messenger. The acquisitions only enabled Facebook to share innovative features and user-friendly technology with a growing audience across different regions.  Through Oculus VR in 2014, Facebook plunged into the arena of Virtual Technology and today, it is the first social network to surpass 1 billion registered accounts, currently sitting at 1.97 billion monthly active users.

Like most of Facebook’s integration processes, Space too could ideally mean a combination of different platforms that will potentially show up as an ‘all in one’ feature on a Facebook Timeline.

© 2017 Deena Zaidi. All rights reserved.

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