Immerse yourself in Star Wars with the first 360 video on Facebook

Star Wars 360-degree video
Star Wars in 360-degrees.

Facebook has joined YouTube in offering 360-degree videos to the masses - and there's a brand new clip from Star Wars: The Force Awakens to help show off the newly launched feature..

As the name suggests, 360-degree videos let you peer in any direction while the action unfolds. You can view them in a VR headset, but they also work in web browsers (if you click and drag to view) and on standard smartphones (swipe or move the handset around).

It's like a basic version of virtual reality, though you can't control your position in the scene and there's no depth perception (you feel like you're in a round bubble rather than an actual world).

Virtual insanity

Content publishers like Facebook are positioning 360-degree video as a way into VR for consumers while we wait for the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and other headsets to launch next year. It's relatively easy to make too.

As for the new Star Wars clip, it lets you explore the parched surface of Jakku on a speeder and fly past a Star Destroyer sunk in the sand. It's an impressive use of the new tech and shows what's possible - click and drag to move the point of view around.

The 360-degree videos are rolling out in the News Feed on desktop and Android now with iOS support coming soon. In the not too distant future you'll be able to peer in any direction inside your friends' holiday and baby videos (assuming they have a 360-degree camera, of course).

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.