Facebook Spaces HTC VIVE launch embraces the enemy

Earlier this year, Facebook revealed a new VR app called Spaces. Speaking simply, Spaces is essentially Facebook for a virtual reality world, as it allows you to hang out with friends in VR and view Facebook photos, among other things. When you consider the fact that Facebook owns Oculus, you'd think that it would want to keep Spaces exclusive to the Rift. As it turns out, that isn't actually the case.

Facebook today announced that Spaces is coming to HTC VIVE, the Rift's biggest (and arguably only) competitor. Those on HTC VIVE will get the same experience as those on Rift – you'll be able to create your own VR avatar, play games and create VR art with your friends, begin a Live broadcast, and even place a Messenger video call with your friends regardless of whether or not they're using Spaces in VR.

Facebook Spaces is even cross-platform compatible, meaning that if you own a VIVE, you'll be able to play with friends who are using a Rift and vice versa. So, why did Facebook decide to bring Spaces to VIVE instead of keeping it exclusive to Rift? To hear the company's Head of Social VR Rachel Franklin explain it in a Facebook today, it's because Facebook wants to see virtual reality grow as a social tool, and it can't do that if social apps are exclusive to just one platform.

"VR is such a powerful way to feel present with the people you care about when you can't physically be together," Franklin writes. "With Facebook Spaces, we've always been committed to bringing the power of social VR to as many people as possible, across platforms and devices."

You can download the app for VIVE today by heading over to the Spaces Facebook page. This is certainly an encouraging thing for virtual reality, as cross-platform compatibility like this will ensure as much support as possible for VR as a whole. In the end, that gives virtual reality as a platform the best chance of survival, so hopefully this won't be the last time we see VR makers extend the olive branch to competing platforms.