This is the first in a series of “casual” social games you can play with virtual friends.
Since its official announcement back in April, Facebook Spaces has had a rocky journey. The still-in-beta social VR platform has delighted us with the ability to join friends to watch 360° videos, capture silly Avatar selfies, draw or even let you answer video calls all from within VR. But Spaces has also shocked and angered a few with some less-than-ideal marketing strategies. But through it all, the collaborative platform continues to grow, much of it with the support from social media giant Facebook.
This week in particular saw a notable growth spurt as the first in an upcoming line of social minigames was finally added to the VR app. Available now for Spaces users, Bait! Arctic Open, is actually a re-release of the 2016 Gear VR title Bait!, now updated with Touch support and other enhancements for the Rift. Referred to as an “early experiment” by the company, Bait! has players competing against one another in a hectic fishing competition. According to Facebook Spaces Head of Product Mike Booth, Bait! was the perfect introduction to social gaming with virtual friends thanks to its relaxed gameplay and casual competitive nature.
“It’s a 3-dimensional, real-time simulation that’s social—so it could be used as a prototype to start building our third-party developer tools.” According to the seasoned developer the process of integrating the mini-game into Spaces was an excellent learning experience as well.
“This is only the beginning,” said Booth. “Experiments like this are helping us learn what’s possible to build in Spaces, what works, what doesn’t, and what tools will empower developers to bring great ideas to life. Eventually, we want even more developers to build with us. We’ll share more on our plans next year, so stay tuned!”
Booth’s genuine excitement in enhancing Spaces with future activities excites me for the future of this particular social platform. While there are certainly many other options in terms of communicating and collaborating with others in VR, Spaces has the opportunity to establish itself as THE social VR experience thanks to support from Facebook. The social media company has also expressed deep interest in having 3rd party developers come aboard and implement their own apps into the virtual social space. Could Farmville VR still happen you think?