The Facebook Spaces virtual reality experience is now available on the HTC Vive headset, the social media giant's VR division said Tuesday. Originally launched in the form of a beta test in April, Facebook Spaces has been exclusive to the Oculus-made Rift until yesterday, with the company appearing to be adamant to keep its first-party software inside its hardware ecosystem until the service is finalized. The new development signals that Facebook is now primarily looking to use its platform to promote VR technologies as a whole instead of pushing for platform exclusivity even though it owns some of the supported hardware.
Facebook Spaces has hence been redesigned to work in conjunction with the HTC Vive Controller and functions just like it does on the Oculus Rift with its accompanying Touch controllers. Cross-platform support is also part of the package so owners of one headset can now interact with those who have the other one within Facebook's virtual reality world. The version of Facebook Spaces available for the HTC Vive is the full-fledged experience including all of the features originally brought to the Rift and will be supported as such going forward, Oculus said. HTC Vive owners can download Facebook Spaces by referring to the banner below, whereas the video beneath it is meant to serve as a short visual announcement of the software's expansion.
Facebook Spaces has recently been the subject of some controversy after Facebook co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg used it to visit disaster-struck Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. The move was described as tasteless by some advocacy groups, primarily because Facebook's VR platform visualizes users to others as cartoonish avatars. The fact that such avatars of Mr. Zuckerberg and another Facebook employee started high-fiving each other on the devastated and flooded streets of Puerto Rico upset some people, prompting the 33-year-old to apologize for the endeavor and vow to have the company's VR team explore the possibilities of removing such cartoon characters from the equation when dealing with sensitive topics. Facebook Spaces is expected to remain the company's flagship VR service going forward and is likely to receive some major updates over the course of 2018.