Facebook is adding more livestreaming to virtual reality.

There are lots of things you can do using virtual reality, you probably just aren’t aware of them.

So says Facebook. That belief is one of the main reasons the company announced Wednesday that it’s adding live video streaming to its social VR product, Spaces, which lets users operate avatars that hang out with other users’ avatars in a virtual world.

Beginning this week you’ll be able to stream those virtual interactions live, which means your friends will be able to watch a cartoon version of you hang out with a cartoon version of other Facebook users in real time.

To some, that won’t sound appealing. To others, it may just sound odd. But Facebook hopes that these livestreams will help introduce virtual reality to people who still aren’t familiar with the technology or what you can do with it.

“The core thing that we’re trying to do here is bridge that divide between people who have VR and the vast majority of people that don’t have VR and may not know what VR is,” explained Mike Booth, the product manager for Spaces at Facebook.

Facebook’s social virtual reality product Spaces. Facebook

Part of the challenge is that virtual reality is still predominantly viewed as technology used by gamers. (One of Facebook’s previous VR-livestreaming integrations allowed people to stream video of their Oculus video games to Facebook.) Facebook has tried to change that stereotype by creating VR videos with more mainstream appeal, like multiple VR videos featuring President Obama.

If Facebook’s $2 billion bet on Oculus is going to pay off, it will depend on getting the technology into the hands of the masses, not just industry enthusiasts.

“A lot of people either don’t know what VR is, or they think that VR is not for them,” Booth continued. “They think it’s a high tech thing for gamers to blow up robots and kill zombies with.”

Clearly there is more work to be done on that front, and while Wednesday’s update is small, Facebook hopes that seeing your friends interact in a virtual world might spur you to try it out for yourself.

Facebook doesn’t share how many people go live or how many people use Spaces, but it’s probably safe to assume that neither group is large, especially by Facebook standards. The group of users that does both is likely very small, so there’s a good chance you won’t see many (any?) live virtual reality meetups in your feed right away.


Recode – All Go to Source
Author: Kurt Wagner

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