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First Look: Oculus Venues and Oculus TV

These apps hope to make the Oculus Go your next entertainment device.

The $200 standalone VR headset from Oculus has finally arrived. Available for sale on Oculus.com in 23 countries, online from Amazon, or in Best Buy Stores in the U.S., the Oculus Go is part of Oculus’ larger goal to getting one billion consumers into VR.

Whether you have an Android or iPhone mobile device, you can immediately get started with Oculus Go (See our review here). And that’s a big deal. While the experience may feel similar to a Samsung Gear VR or Google Daydream View, both devices require newer Android devices. With Oculus Go, iPhone users around the world can now finally jump into VR with something comparable.

After using Oculus Go for almost a week straight now, we’ve been enthusiastic about the build, clarity, and comfort from the $200 headset—the battery life and content do need some improvement. Although Oculus Go is launching with over 1,000 apps, movies, games and experiences, nearly 100 of which are brand new or significantly updated titles, there are two Oculus apps coming soon worth mentioning.

Oculus Venues

Originally teased last year during a Facebook keynote, Oculus Venues will let you watch live concerts, sports, comedy and other events around the world with your friends and thousands of other people in VR. Venues that Oculus is planning to launch with include Major League Baseball games, artists like Vance Joy in partnership with AEG, emerging musicians from School Night at the Bardot in partnership with NextVR, and standup events like Gotham Comedy Club.

Oculus wants to make all their apps social, so of course Oculus Venues lets you join friends. You can switch to different seats (camera perspectives) in the venue and sit alongside other friends who show up as avatars.

Oculus TV

Announced at Facebook’s F8 developer conference today, Oculus TV is coming to Oculus Go in May. Just like the name suggests, this is a TV viewing app for VR. When the app is finally released, you’ll be able to sit in a 3D environment with a massive screen and socially watch vodio with a friend.

Content apps that will be available at launch include Netflix, Hulu, Showtime, Redbull, Pluto TV, Facebook video, and even ESPN, including the new service ESPN+ coming later this year.

Speaking with Oculus representatives, Oculus TV will continue to roll out new content channels throughout the year. Don’t be surprised when you start to see network TV channels pop up sometime soon, extending over-the-top (OTT) viewing experiences you may be used to like Apple TV into VR.

So a couple apps to look forward to. If you already ordered your Oculus Go, be sure to check out the updated Oculus Rooms app that has been fully redesigned with a customizable environment, more life-like avatars, and the ability to watch purchased and rented movies from among the hundreds of titles in the Oculus Store. Hasbro will also be bringing tabletop games like Boggle, Monopoly, and Trivial Pursuit soon after launch.

With some 77% of VR headset owners today interested in interacting socially with other people in VR and watching video ranking high on social VR activities their interested in according to a Greenlight Insights survey, we can assume Facebook will continue to inject social and new ways to watch video in every part of the Oculus Go experience going forward.

Image Credit: VRScout / Oculus

About the Scout

Jonathan Nafarrete

Jonathan Nafarrete is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of VRScout.

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