While virtual reality in and of itself is a highly immersive medium that begs to be interacted with, there is something to be said for a VR experience that's entirely cinematic, with nothing being asked of the user. A social network, obviously, is not the place for such an attitude; social networks, after all, are built on social interaction. Thus, the Gear VR version of the Facebook app now allows users who are viewing videos in 360 degrees to like or react to the video they're watching using view-based controls, similar to navigating Google's Cardboard app.
Starting today, users will see a new menu option while watching a 360 degree video in VR. This option, shown at first as a small circle, can be gazed into and interacted with to bring up the full list of Facebook reactions, including the classic like. Once the circle of emoji pops up around the small ring, a user can simply look at the option they like and interact with it in order to add their reaction to the video. Making otherwise lonely VR viewing a bit more social, this change will see users watching an array of reactions float about, some in real time, when watching 360 degree videos in VR. The change, which was originally teased in March, will be making its way to users via a gradual rollout over the next few weeks. At some point, the feature is also poised to hit 360 degree photo spheres and panoramas in VR, though there was no word as to when that would be.
Adding an all-important social element to VR content seems to be where the technology is headed next, with massively multiplayer exploration areas, chat rooms and even games hitting more and more VR platforms. While the change is headed only to the Gear VR for the time being, it likely won't be long before Oculus users can hop on their Facebook and post their reactions, at least, though it will probably eventually make its way to Google's Daydream platform, at least. While interacting in VR can be a bit disorienting, with VR becoming more and more ubiquitous and advanced, it seems to be the natural next step in the evolution of the technology.