This year’s F8 Conference with Facebook presented developers with a whole host of new and progressing ideas, but none stand out so much as their presentations on augmented and virtual reality. The company has been working on their virtual platforms since purchasing Oculus in 2014 and after the sneak peek last year, this year’s reveal was met with an intense anticipation.
To start with, augmented reality is already in the hands of the general public. Snapchat has been capitalizing on that software for a couple years now. What Facebook is offering is essentially the same thing, but through the eyes of their artists and creative arm. Through your Facebook app, you can open up your camera and take pictures with other objects, notes, and features superimposed into the imagery.
The potential for this feature extends far beyond just adding stickers to your world; Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg suggests that you could use it to identify the rating of restaurants and see secret notes left for you by friends. Essentially, the feature would take what made Pokemon Go so revolutionary and actually make it useful.
While the team at Facebook is arguably rushing to normalize their features on Virtual Reality platforms before anyone else, they aren’t cutting corners. Facebook’s Spaces is a meta-verse that immerses you in any situation you like, bringing in your friends and providing a space for all of you to get together and interact without actually being in person. It’s going to change the game for long-distance relationships.
The experience is bizarre and thorough, says one reporter, but completely charming and within minutes, it feels enough like reality that you can just dive in. The designers of the space have focused on lighthearted, whimsical features to make the experience fun. Through the lenses and hand controls, you can act and respond in a variety of ways, with the added benefit of features that heighten the interaction only virtual reality can provide.
Facebook Spaces is just Facebook (the social media) come to life. Within the environment, you can pull up pictures and videos from your news-feed and share with others what you see and love.
All of this is only possible thanks to their Oculus hardware, which has more than proven its worth to the company. A technology that once seemed far off and distant now has an immediate value, which Facebook has illuminated much to the joy of other developers who were still fighting for visibility.
Facebook’s commitment to virtual reality technology shows that companies like VictoryVR are pioneering a market that is only just beginning to show its growth potential. As products like VictoryVR’s Science show that virtual reality is not JUST for gaming, the marketplace will continue to expand demonstrate its usefulness and adoptability.