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Introducing the Facebook Social VR Team

Virtual reality was always going to be a social thing. We've all seen enough sci fi with players in virtual reality games interacting, we've seen cartoons where a chatroom is actually a room you sit in within the internet and so on. So it's hardly a surprise that Facebook, a social media giant, has set up a social VR team to work on their Oculus Rift.

When you think of virtual reality, you do tend to think of games. I look forward to being able to run around in and RPG and actually feel like I'm holding the sword and flirting with the cute NPC's because I'm too awkward to actually play the game online. But with gaming there could become a problem of people being too focused on the game play itself. At the moment when you play the Toybox demo in Facebook's headquarters all you can see is your partner's head and their hands This isn't exactly what people are going to be hoping for if they really get involved in their games. The only thing I've seen where you might think that's okay is Oculus' rock climbing simulator. Though it would probably help to be able to see your feet too... However a lot of apps are already being demoed where you don’t need to see yourself because the graphics around you draw you into their world. Google already have games for their Cardboard VR which only requires you to move your head to watch the crazy characters do your bidding as well. If Google were essentially able to build phone apps for VR then surely it’s not going to take that many more steps to have some actual game play with other players in a more solid VR model?

What Facebook are hoping to do with VR is to take the social experience to the next level of technology. They say they want friends and families to be able to interact and do something together, even if they're in another country. You'll be able to watch movies and play games but you already have similar experiences to that available without virtual reality. What we don't really have are social experiences that aren't games but aren't just chat, video or voice. What it would be interesting for Facebook to do, like in many fictional VR experiences, would be to allow users to create a room of their own. They could fill that room with apps, photos and videos they wanted to share and people could interact with each other. It would mean they could do multiple things together from games, to sharing to just chatting. It wouldn't matter so much then, even if you could only see face and hands, because the sharing experience would be more like Facebook and other social media but virtual.

Of course we have no way of knowing what they actually have planned. The Prime Minister of Singapore was distracted by dinosaurs in the virtual reality room after all and you don't really see much like that in the Toybox promo. What you can see is a game of zero gravity ping pong like Zuckerberg played with the Indonesian President. There's no scoring, no time limit on the game or anything. It's just an example of one way you can use objects in virtual reality as if you were in the same room. The Toybox cements the fact that Facebook want to take VR on as the next big social platform and it seems like they might be going the right way.

Daniel James and Mike Booth are the names of the two staff members set to lead the social VR team so keep an eye out for any mentions of them by Facebook in a VR Capacity because they surely must have some good ideas to play about with.

Rosina is a Songbird rookie with a degree in Creative Writing. She's trying to focus on her novel on the side but is hoping that Content Writing will turn out to be a good career choice in the mean time! Follow her @RosinaAtSMF

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Introducing the Facebook Social VR Team Reviewed by Unknown on Tuesday, February 23, 2016 Rating: 5

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