Oculus has launched social virtual reality features that let your hang out with your friends in VR like you would in real life.
It seems like the days of ‘chat rooms’ are back, but with a spin of virtual reality. A new Oculus feature allows its users to gather with friends in its new ‘Rooms’ feature, where they can get together and eventually launch into a developer’s multiplayer game. With the Coordinated App Launch API, the Rooms feature could make Oculus the portal for playing with friends in VR, ruling the social virtual reality. Essentially, Oculus Rooms, are a private virtual space to spend time with friends in VR. In a way, they enable social activities that mirror how one may hang out with friends in real life.
“The first wave of VR was all about the magic of presence, the immersive sense of actually being inside a virtual space. The next step is to let you feel that same sense of presence with other people in VR,” a blog post by Oculus VR read.
In order to find your friends to chill with in the Rooms feature, a user can find their friends in VR by simply linking their Facebook and Oculus accounts or searching them by their real name or Oculus username. Once they connect and become Oculus friends, they can see when their friends are online, and jump into an experience together.
Along with Rooms, Oculus also announced a feature called Parties. Oculus Parties lets users and up to three of their friends join a voice call from anywhere in VR. Parties ensure that no matter where a user goes on the platform, they can always communicate with their friends.
To kick start the Party feature, a user can simply click the “Party” tab in Oculus Home, select who they want to join the party with, and they are good to go.
And once a user and their friends are in a Party together, they can easily join Oculus Rooms. From there, they can choose what they would 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.
Additionally, meanwhile, developers can also now try out Livestreaming so they can share their experience back to Facebook for people without a headset. Livestreaming is Facebook’s attempt to socially democratize VR. With Livestreaming users (although currently on developers) can start a stream to show their first-person perspective to their Facebook friends unable to join VR themselves. These new features are now available on Gear VR and will come to Rift in 2017.