How Facebook is Planning on Making VR Less Lonely

By: Kassidy Coleman

If you’ve ever worn a virtual reality headset then you know that although it’s fun, it can be a little lonely. Sure, it’s a ton of fun taking a virtual trip to Mars or traveling back in time to hang out with dinosaurs, but most of us can agree that it would be more enjoyable if we could engage in a community with other people in the virtual world.

Last month, Facebook had stated that they had a dedicated social VR team that was going to be working on finding ways to integrate VR into their social platform. Now Facebook is looking to make virtual reality a little less lonely by allowing you to share your reactions of videos viewed on Gear VR.

Facebook will start rolling out support for five emoji reactions for users to show how they feel about the virtual reality videos they’re watching. This will add a more social aspect to virtual reality. Being able to see the reactions of your friends will make it feel less like a solo trip into space.

At first, we were a little worried that the reactions would take away from the experience or just be distracting. But Facebook did a pretty good job of smoothly integrating the features without making it overbearing. The reactions of others will simply float by on your screen. Nobody will be typing anything, which could have really killed the mood if Facebook had decided to go that route.

Facebook has always let it be known that virtual reality is a huge part of their future plans which means we can definitely expect to see them integrating their social media platform even more into Oculus in the future.

However, Facebook is not the only company working to incorporate social interactions into virtual reality. The Gear VR app now allows users to create profiles, create rooms to watch video streams with friends, and there’s even multiplayer games to play.

Lately virtual reality has been everywhere in the news, but because it’s still so new, nobody knows just how successful the industry is going to be. The consulting firm, Analysis Group has estimated that worldwide revenue from virtual reality could total anywhere from $2.8 billion and $126 billion.

While there’s still a long way to go before VR can really be considered a critical part of social media, it will be an interesting journey to watch!

What do you think about Facebook incorporating reactions on Gear VR? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on Twitter!

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