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Facebook Spaces VR parties are available for Rift owners today

If you have an Oculus headset, you can chat with friends around the world.
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Facebook teased how it would create social experiences in virtual reality, and now it's ready to take things one step further. It just launched a Facebook Spaces beta that lets Oculus Rift owners hang out together (up to four at once) in VR. The experience will be familiar if you saw Facebook's preview at Oculus Connect, but it's clearly more refined with its actual launch. You can create an avatar that's as realistic or fanciful as you want, draw 3D objects and show off your personal videos and use 360-degree video backgrounds to liven up your chats. There's even a selfie stick to take virtual self-portraits. And if a friend can't use VR, you can bring them into the conversation using Facebook Messenger video calls.

Gallery: Facebook Spaces - F8 | 9 Photos

The beta is available right now in the Oculus Store. Facebook is quick to stress that this is just an early glimpse, though -- it's "1 percent" of what the social network wants to do. It sees Spaces enabling all kinds of VR interactions, such as playing pool with your pals or shared music listening. While Spaces will likely feel like a novelty right now, Facebook clearly sees this as a launching pad for VR as a social platform. If everything goes well, this could be your go-to option whenever you can't meet someone in person.

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