Oculus Adds Social VR Experience to Update

Alexis Macklin, Research Manager Insight Articles

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Oculus has released Oculus Rooms and Oculus Parties with the newest Gear VR update of Oculus Home. The newest features are the first social integrations coming from the Oculus/Facebook team.

Oculus Parties will be familiar for console gamers. The newest social feature is a platform for users to host group calls while using the headset. This is similar to Xbox and PlayStation chat party features. Every user on the call can talk and play separate games.

Oculus Rooms is an experience mixed with a chat room. Users can enter Oculus Rooms like an experience, entering a room where friends can join. There groups of friends can watch movies, play mini games and enter multiplayer VR experiences together.

Social VR is largely underdeveloped in the space, which is technically delayed by the complication of solving real-time VR streaming in experiences. General consumers are also largely inexperienced with VR. According to the 2016 VR Consumer Report by Greenlight, about 80℅ of consumers had not used a VR headset. This inexperience leads to not knowing how VR experiences will look or how social interactions will look with 56.8% of surveyed consumers responding that VR games would enjoyable playing with others. Only 16.2% of Greenlight Insights' Virtual Reality Industry Monitor respondents said they were developing a VR game that is primarily meant to be played with other players in real-time.

VR games have been experimenting with social add-ons and multiplayer features. Social gathering experiences like AltspaceVR have seen some traction, with some celebrities stopping by as well. In contrast, Mindshow is a social sharing g experience where users can create animated VR plays and share them with friends who can view it from a variety of headsets.

Oculus Rooms is not unique, but diversity and options in social content is important for the industry to develop what social VR experiences will look like and many are waiting to see what will come out of the Facebook-led team.

Learn more about what about 1,300 consumers said about the VR industry in the 2016 VR consumer Adoption Report.