Earlier this year, Oculus helped bring virtual reality to the forefront of technology by introducing the Oculus Rift, which allowed users to step into the VR world. Nevertheless, the company is continuing to expand the realm of virtual reality to include more than just gaming. Now, it is introducing a more social way to experience VR.
According to The Verge, Oculus has launched two new features for the Samsung Gear VR, which will allow users to interact with other users in a virtual space. The first is called Parties while the other is called Rooms. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks, which allows users to communicate with others in a space that is both safe and comfortable.
Parties works very much like the chat system already found in Sony's PlayStation and Microsoft's Xbox. It basically allows a user to jump into a voice call and talk with anyone available and willing while wearing the compatible headset. This feature also allows individuals to send invites to Rooms, which is - in a way - a little more personal.
TechCrunch explains that Rooms allow wearers to meet up with their friends in a private and virtual hangout space. The environment where users will find themselves is as futuristic as virtual reality itself is. Users will be allowed to customize their avatars before hanging out with their friends.
In the space, each avatar will move its mouth whenever the owner is speaking. Spatial audio also allows participants to guess where the person speaking is within the room. It is a simple concept, but there are additional features. Those within the Oculus Room can, for example, watch popular Facebook videos, as well as any that have been saved into a folder.
The feature is still in its infancy mode right now, but Oculus product manager Madhu Muthukumar confirmed there are future plans for both Parties and Rooms. "Are we looking into that expanding [to provide premium Netflix content]? Yes. If we find this is something people like to do... We'll keep working on that."