Oculus says that Facebook’s newly released social VR app, Facebook Spaces, “takes some of the best features of Facebook and brings them into your VR space,” but it also lets you do new things that you could never do on Facebook before. These three videos show some of Facebook Spaces’ most interesting features.

Facebook Spaces launched in beta today for the Oculus Rift and Touch. The app is designed to connect you with your Facebook friends in virtual reality and let you share memories (and create new ones) together. Here’s a quick look at some of the app’s standout features:

Video Calling Between Realities

For me, this is perhaps the coolest feature in Facebook Spaces. VR is still young and the number of people who have VR headsets is tiny compared to the number of people who have smartphones. But connecting the two together means that even without a headset, people can get a glimpse inside the virtual world and connect with their friends.

The Messenger video chat feature in Facebook Spaces lets the VR user see their real-life friends through a smartphone camera, while the smartphone user sees the VR user’s avatar and the virtual world around them.

3D Drawing

The ‘Magic Marker’ in Facebook Spaces lets you draw in the air in all dimensions. This is similar to other VR apps, except in this case you can draw together with friends. Also quite interesting is that your drawings are not just brushstrokes, but 3D objects that you can then grab and manipulate, allowing you to essentially draw objects to play with in the virtual world.

Shared VR Experiences

There are 360 videos aplenty, but watching together with friends in VR is still a challenge. Now in Facebook Spaces it’s possible to view videospheres and photospheres together at the same time with friends so that you can both watch and talk about the experience as it happens.

Newsletter graphic

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. More information.

Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."

    If it wasn’t clear before, it sure is now. The Rift has become a vehicle for FB to dominate VR within in its own ecosystem. I’m glad the VIVE exists as an alternative for those who don’t want FB flavoured VR. (myself included*) Although I bought the Rift and have been a huge Oculus fanboy, I like options & choices. That said, who better than FB to help push VR towards ubiquity, with their BILLIONS of users & $$$$? It may be easy for some to forget how new and fragile VR is. It’s now looking like VR has a good chance at NOT being a passing fad, but rather the new platform that VR enthusiasts were hoping for. FB Spaces represents another big milestone in mass adoption of VR, and I’m looking forward to trying it out. Incidentally, had a memorable experience in the BIG SCREEN app last night, watching someone stream AVATAR in 3D on a huge home-theatre size screen, while talking and screen sharing with 3 other people. Social VR is prob the “Killer” app that many are speculating about.

  • Facts

    Wow good drawing

  • mbze430

    I tried it last night with a friend, but she wasn’t able to see the VR scene… she said it was only a black screen. She was on an iPhone

  • AndyP

    Just tried it, several attempts: they spent billions on VR, but their own app runs like shit, crashes, and has not let me past the really annoying “tag a photo…” stage! On an i7 with a 1080 gtx that’s runs everything smooth. Nice job FB. I never say anything bad about VR, as it’s generally amazing for first gen and I’m happy to accept the issues of early adoption – but had to break my own rule this time – what a massive face up!

    • AndyP

      From what I saw, it’s also remarkably cheesy!

      • CURTROCK

        Hey Andy. i had the same problem. You have to tag a photo “specifically” in the face area. I guess their algorhythm or whatever cant work unless the tag is located right on your face.

        • AndyP

          Thanks, but unfortunately I didn’t even let me get that far, just the message and then no response.