Oculus Introduces New Social Features To GearVR

by Mike Futter on Mar 09, 2016 at 10:49 AM

When we spoke with Oculus founder Palmer Luckey about virtual reality's social potential for our January issue, he told us that no one really had a cohesive vision for what the metaverse (VR’s social interactions layer) would look like. Today, Oculus has announced a new foray into social experiences in VR.

If you have a Gear VR, you’ll be able to create an Oculus profile and search for friends by real name or username.  You’ll be able to rate those you play with and against, so you have an idea of who you’re gaming with. 

The profiles will be used to link up for different experiences, including a game called Social Trivia. A multiplayer version of Herobound, a game we enjoyed and covered in our January issue, is currently available and will support the new friends feature as well as voice chat.

Click to enlarge.

You’ll also be able to soon connect your Facebook account to your Oculus account, which will result in customized 360-degree video recommendations based on who and what you follow. Twitch and Vimeo will also integrate the social features, allowing you to watch videos with friends.

All of this comes on Gear VR less than a month before Oculus launches the Rift. First shipments will go out on March 28.

For more, check out our January issue featuring a look at The Year of VR.

[Source: Oculus]


Our Take
This are clumsy first steps at bringing people together in virtual space, but by no means reflect the potential or rapid evolution we expect in this area. We’ll likely see a number of expressions of avatars and interaction types before some sort of standard emerges. The growth of the medium is fascinating to watch from the start.