Facebook is developing social media platform called Oculus Connect, that lets groups of people chat via animated avatars in virtual reality.
The service was showcased by Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg in a live conferenece demo for the company’s Oculus Rift VR device.
During the presentation he also demonstrated software for interacting with friends in virtual reality.
Zuckerberg was placed in a virtual environment with two colleagues. Each could see an avatar of each other – a cartoon-like figure designed to resemble the real person.
He wanted to emphasize the social aspects of VR, and Facebook made announcements related to Avatars, Parties, and Rooms.
Oculus is currenly working on a new headset in an attempt to make the technology more affordable.
On stage in San Jose, Zuckerberg acknowledged the prohibitive cost of the current Oculus Rift headset.
However, Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey was not at the event, sparking speculation about his absence.
Earlier this week Google showed the first version of Daydream VR, its headset which is powered by mobile phone.
Next week Sony is set to launch its PlayStation VR headset, which works with the PlayStation 4 console, making it a considerably cheaper than the Oculus – though not as powerful.
Facebook confirmed it was working on a standalone, high-end VR headset.
At the higher-end of the VR market, HTC Vive has been well-received by gamers and has the backing of PC gaming giant Valve.
Zuckerberg said: “We believe that there is a sweet spot – a standalone virtual reality product that is high quality, that is affordable, and you can bring with you out into the world. It’s still early, so I don’t want to get your hopes up too much.”
The key innovation will be in using Computer Vision Software (CVS), Mr Zuckerberg said. This would enable the headset to see what’s around it and detect its own movements – allowing the wearer to walk around freely.