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/ 11.09.2019

Meaningful Meet ups: Is Social VR The Future Of Social Connection?

With an estimated 3.5 billion users globally, social media has revolutionized how we connect with each other.

Through the likes of Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter, people from different parts of the world can share snapshots of their lives and hang out in the digital world. But, where will people connect in the future?

My money is on virtual reality, and in fact, it’s already happening.

Virtual reality allows us to connect and to share on a whole new level. It enables us to gather with friends anywhere on the globe and share experiences that would never be possible in the real world (think fighting dragons), or you can just hang out watching movies together. Not only can people enrich existing friendships, but they can also make new friends through the ever-growing catalog of social VR experiences.

Jerry Gottheil marketing director of Altspace, a social platform for VR, said: “When you meet with somebody in VR, there is a sense that you are together, that you experience something with that person in a way that you wouldn’t [otherwise].”

Facebook acquired Oculus back in 2014, with a vision to connect the world in a more meaningful way. The ambition is huge—Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has previously said he wants to connect a billion people in virtual reality. Facebook Spaces was the company’s first foray into social VR, giving users the ability to draw 3D objects with virtual markers, video call friends outside of VR, share selfies of VR memories on Facebook, and interact with friends through avatars. 

Now, there’s a whole host of VR experiences that let you connect with others.

VRChat 

VRChat offers a wide collection of social VR experiences by giving the power of creation to its community. VRChat allows users to play, hang out, and (of course) chat, using spatialized 3D audio, expressive lip-synced avatars, multiplayer VR games, and virtual space stations where users can watch YouTube videos with friends. 

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VRCHAT

Oculus Home 

Oculus Home allows users to create and customize their own VR space from a library of items, objects, and decor that vary according to seasonal celebrations. The best thing about this app is that you can create public rooms where you can invite friends to check out your place and relax. You can also host public meetups within the app—anyone can make their Home public and connect with like-minded fans and members of the community.

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Big Screen 

This platform aims to revolutionize the way people work, play, hang out and collaborate within the VR space—with virtual movie nights, LAN parties, PC games, and many more multiplayer activities. In Bigscreen VR, you can use your Windows computer in virtual reality to view your desktop on huge monitors, as well as share your desktop with other users. Rooms can hold up to 12 people from all over the world, and you don’t have to worry about compatibility—Bigscreen is available over PSVR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and WMR. Recently, Bigscreen added 50+ streaming TV channels, including sports, gaming, movies, anime, news, and more to the service—all for free!

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Rec Room

Rec Room is a free platform that consists of thousands of player-created rooms, each with a different multiplayer activity to participate in. Team up with friends or meet other VR users from all over the world, across all types of devices including PSVR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and WMR. Customizable avatars make sure you look the part when you participate in virtual laser tag, paintball, and many other games. Creators of Rec Room, Against Gravity, told TechCrunch that it secured $24 million last month over two rounds of funding led by Sequoia and Index Ventures. With this investment, CEO Nick Fajt is looking towards in-game purchases: “I think a direction that we’re actually excited about is that we want to let the users creating some of this content charge tokens to play them, I think that’s one that we’re kind of on the cusp of doing and we’re hoping to get that out later this year.”

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Sports Bar VR

This application does just what it says on the tin—it’s a virtual sports bar where up to eight players can play classic bar games including pool, darts, and air hockey. In addition, you can take on daily challenges to earn tickets which allow you to customize your avatar, customize your pool cue, and decorate the environment around you with unlockable items. It’s also cross-platform, so you can play with all your friends on HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Valve Index. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, join a random session and hang out with people you don’t know!

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CHERRY POP GAMES, PERILOUS ORBIT

AltspaceVR

AltspaceVR is the “easiest way to meet people from around the world,” not only can you play interactive games but you can also attend free live events with comedians, DJ’s, authors, and celebrities from the comfort of your own home. See which of your friends are online at the touch of a button and get reminders for events you’re interested in. The audience in Altspace is diverse and ranges from 13-60, so no matter your age you can join in any conversation that takes your fancy. Again, this one is cross-reality, so no need to worry if you’re an Oculus user but your best friend uses a Vive—you can both enjoy this one.

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This piece was written by Sol Rogers and originally appeared on Forbes.com

To read about the top VR headsets check out the top 8 headsets here: Recent VR, AR, and MR News – Eight Headsets You Need To Know About

PORTFOLIO: Don’t miss our award winning VR project BBC Home: A Space Walk

If you have a VR project you’re working on check out VR Services to see if we can help.

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