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Facebook’s social VR goes cross-platform–the HTC Vive–for the first time

Facebook’s social VR goes cross-platform–the HTC Vive–for the first time
[Illustration: courtesy of Faccebook]

Facebook Spaces, the company’s social virtual reality platform, is a cool environment that lets multiple people gather in VR, share 360-degree photos and videos, create and share 3D objects, and even stream live video from VR to any Facebook user. As social VR efforts go, it’s one of the most-well developed–though the folks at High Fidelity, Altspace VR, and VRChat might disagree. But until now, Spaces has been available only to users of the high-end Rift, from Facebook-owned Oculus. No more.

Today, Facebook said it’s opening up Spaces to users of the HTC Vive, the other major high-end VR system on the market. All that’ll be required for Vive users–besides the hardware–is a Facebook account. The Spaces experience on Vive is meant to be exactly the same as on Rift. This is likely a good thing for the growth of social VR. Though neither the Rift nor Vive user bases are all that large, it’s unquestionably helpful to be able to expand the number of people who can use, and contribute to,a system like Spaces.

“I think Facebook Spaces is essentially like messaging,” says Anthony Batt, the co-founder of the VR development company Wevr. “So it shouldn’t be bound to any single platform, so it makes perfect sense that they’re opening it up. It’s called Facebook Spaces, not Oculus Spaces.”

Meanwhile, Facebook says it’s hopeful to be able to expand Spaces to additional VR platforms in the future. The likely candidates would be Samsung’s Gear VR–which is powered by Oculus software–as well as Google’s Daydream and Sony’s PlayStation VR.