For Facebook, the future of VR will be social.
Originally announced at the Oculus Connect developer’s conference (OC3), Oculus showed us what VR with friends could look across their platform with Rooms and Parties.
For Oculus, the first wave of VR experiences were “all about the magic of presence” and the “immersive sense of actually being inside a virtual space.” But everyone knows that VR is better with friends — and if you can create that same sense of presence with other people in VR, the entire experience takes on an entirely new feeling.
Starting today, Oculus has launched Rooms and Parties for Gear VR, two new exciting features that will let you interact with others in virtual reality. For both Rooms and Parties, finding your friends in VR is as simple as linking your Facebook and Oculus accounts, where you can search for people by their real name or Oculus username. Once you’re friends, you’ll be able to start a voice call in Parties or jump into a VR experience together in Rooms.
Join a Voice Call with Friends in VR
Oculus Parties lets you and up to three friends join a voice call from anywhere in VR. Much like what we see with simple chat systems on platforms like PlayStation or Xbox, Parties ensures that no matter where you go on the platform, you can always communicate with your friends.
Starting a party is easy. Click the “Party” tab in Oculus Home, select who you want to join the party, and you’re good to go.
Hang Out Together in Oculus Rooms
This is the VR equivalent of a chat room, only much more exciting because now you all have the ability of teleportation. Oculus Rooms is a private virtual space to spend time with friends in VR that focuses on enabling social activities that mirror how you may hang out with friends in real life.
Once you and your friends are in a Party together, you can easily join Oculus Rooms. From there, you can choose what you’d like to do: gather around the TV and watch videos, play matching or guessing games, or hit the group app launcher to jump to a multiplayer game like Dragon Front or Drop Dead. While in Oculus Rooms, you can use your gaze and tapping of the Gear VR to move within the virtual space.
Oculus plans on adding more apps to support this feature in the coming months.
For Oculus, Parties and Rooms is just the beginning of what social VR can be for the company. With the launch of Touch controllers earlier this month and introduction of customizable avatars, no matter what headset you are on, Oculus is laser focused on continuing to build on making the VR experience more social. Because we all know VR can sometimes be lonely, so why not do it with your homies.