Virtual reality might not be catching on as fast as some early adopters would have liked, but it’s certainly not dying any time soon. Oculus, once the household name in the VR space, was sold to Facebook for $2 billion a few years back, and today the social network finally revealed what everyone knew would happen sooner or later: a virtual reality Facebook app. It’s called Facebook Spaces, and it might be the Oculus Rift’s last, best chance at reestablishing itself as the leader in VR.
Facebook says it wants Spaces to be the place where Facebook users “get together, have fun and share experiences with people you care about.” The idea being that you’ll create a 3D virtual avatar and then use it to interact with your friends who are occupying the same virtual space.
Spaces combines a number of VR concepts, like the ability to draw in 3D space and play basic games, with social features like VR selfies and general chat. None of it is particularly groundbreaking, especially if you’ve already experienced the various social apps available for both the Rift and the more popular HTC Vive via the Steam marketplace, but by pushing the app as something new and unique to the average Facebook user (who almost certainly hasn’t dabbled in the VR space up to this point), Facebook could capitalize in a big way.
Of course, there’s still the matter of the Oculus Rift (with Touch controllers) costing a cool $600, not to mention the added price of a computer that can adequately utilize the hardware. Things haven’t been going particularly well on the sales from for Oculus, so the reception to the Rift-exclusive Facebook Spaces could make or break the brand, and that’s no exaggeration.