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HTC Vive owners can now get social with Oculus Rift friends in Facebook Spaces

Facebook Spaces
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Facebook’s Rachel Rubin Franklin said on Tuesday, December 19, that Facebook Spaces is now available for the HTC Vive VR headset. Formerly available only on the rival Oculus Rift model, Vive owners can now get on Facebook’s VR social bandwagon to experience the popular network in a whole new, up-close-and-personal way.

“Vive owners will find all the same fun features as the Rift version — you can create your own avatar, view Facebook photos and 360 videos, play games, draw with markers, go Live, make Messenger video calls, and (my favorite) take awesome selfies,” Franklin says. “Plus, it’s cross-platform compatible, so Vive users can also hang out in Spaces with friends who use Rift.”

Facebook Spaces arrived on the Oculus Rift in April. The idea was to bring Facebook users into a virtual space where they could hang out together, interact with the environment, play Pictionary or tic-tac-toe by drawing in the air, and so on. Spaces also incorporates other Facebook-related services such as Messenger video calling, timelines, photos, pages you follow, 360 videos, and more.

HTC Vive owners will start their Facebook Spaces adventure by creating an avatar based on an uploaded photo. From there, they can customize the avatar’s eye color, facial features, hairstyles, and more. After that, they can jump into a virtual environment, and invite friends with HTC Vive or Oculus Rift headsets.

Facebook Spaces is not currently compatible with the Oculus-powered Gear VR. But the Oculus Rift with its Touch controllers and sensors now only costs $379, which is far cheaper than it was when Facebook Spaces arrived in April. At the time, the headset/controller bundle cost $598, down from a heftier $798.

But now Facebook is expanding into Vive territory. The kit costs a more expensive $500, and includes two motion controllers, two base stations, a link box, and earbuds. Of the two, the HTC Vive reportedly had control of the PC-based VR headset market until Facebook dropped the Rift’s price to $379. The social network saw 210,000 units shipped in the third quarter while HTC only saw 160,000 Vive headsets sold during the same period.

But Facebook doesn’t plan to stop with the HTC Vive, as Facebook Spaces is slated to arrive on other VR platforms and devices in the future. One of those platforms could be the new Windows Mixed Reality headset family now hitting the market. These include the Lenovo Explorer, the Samsung Odyssey, the Dell Visor, and two others.

“VR is such a powerful way to feel present with the people you care about when you can’t physically be together,” Franklin added. “With Facebook Spaces, we’ve always been committed to bringing the power of social VR to as many people as possible, across platforms and devices.”

Facebook Spaces is still listed as a beta, so expect changes as Facebook shapes the platform based on feedback. You can download the HTC Vive version of Facebook Spaces here, while the version for the Oculus Rift is available here.

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Kevin Parrish
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