Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg showed off the company’s experiments with social virtual reality experiences that allow you to chat with your friends using virtual avatars. It was really weird. The demo app allows you to chat with avatars of your friends, travel to places like Mars or Facebook’s Headquarters, and take virtual reality selfies to share to Facebook.
Zuck showed off the demo at the third annual Oculus Connect conference in San Jose, California. Virtual reality fans have been waiting for Facebook to roll out an app for the Oculus platform since it acquired the company for $2 Billion in 2014.
Zuck video chatting with his wife in virtual reality.
The demo was, as you might expect, pretty odd, and rough around the edges. Zuckerberg’s friends showed off their avatars facial expressions, travelled to Mars, played chess in Zuckerberg’s office, and eventually travelled to the CEO’s home to take a selfie with his dog and wife. Zuck was was able to audio chat with his friends using the Oculus headset, and video chat with his wife using Facebook messenger.
Beyond Zuck’s experimental demo, Oculus created some actual new tools for the Rift platform that will allow you to interact with other people in social environments. You can create your own personal avatar and hang out with your friends in a room. You can also join a group of friends to play a game together, or to watch Netflix.
Facebook is a social company. While Oculus was founded by gamers, built for gamers, and primarily offers games on its platform, it’s clear that it wasn’t going to stay that way forever. Facebook is ready to bring its social media platforms to the virtual reality platform it paid a cool $2 Billion for.
Zuckerberg didn’t mention when the app would be available. It appears this is just an experimental demo for now, which is fine, because we don’t want to anything that works like this.