The Samsung Gear VR virtual reality set provides plenty of thrills, but an app called Oculus Social Alpha goes far and beyond the usual thrills. When you put on your Gear VR and launch the Social Alpha app, you are transformed into a virtual room with others from all over the world. You can see them (via cheesy avatars), hear them, and even watch a movie with them.
Engadget further summarizes the app.
“Currently available in the Oculus Store for any of Samsung’s Gear VR devices (make sure you update your Oculus Video app too) the Oculus Social Alpha lets up to five people watch a Twitch or Vimeo stream in a virtual home theater setting.”
The article adds that although the head-tracked avatars are disembodied, the video stream on the screen is high quality and the heads turn and represent each viewer realistically enough so conversations aren’t awkward.
“This was amazing. At one point, I pointed to show someone something on the screen and completely forgot I was sitting in my office. Alone. But I didn’t feel alone in this app at all,” said user castane.
“There is something oddly liberating about the focused approach Oculus is taking with Oculus Social. I didn’t have to worry about finding people or finding something to do. The who and what was spelled out so clearly that I could focus on being in the moment with others. Oculus is off to a good start with this on,” said user stevrwonder.
Twitter is impressed with this immersive social experience as well.
Oculus Social Alpha is just the beginning of it all. Within a year, you will be able to sit on your couch in your lonely apartment and then join your brother and sister who are in Australia on a virtual reality moon while watching family videos. If you don’t want to watch the family videos, you can talk about what you had for dinner or the amazing date you just had. You can even share pictures of your new significant other.
Right now, the “videos” thing is a little difficult. You can stream videos from Vimeo and Twitch, but it’s not as easy as sharing any video you want, especially because a lot of videos have copyright issues and Twitch is known to clamp down on people who violate copyright issues.
There are rumors that — very soon — the Oculus Cinema app will turn “social” and you’ll be able to watch an IMAX 3D movie with others as long as both of you buy the movie. However, you can bet that there will be those who will find a “fix” to get around the rules. Of course, Oculus can’t stop you from swearing at each other and calling each other names in the theater, so — perhaps — the politically correct and oversensitive college campus kids may want to stay way from this.
Oculus Social Alpha guarantees that nobody will ever be lonely again. The Oculus Social Dating App should be — umm — pretty interesting when it comes out. Have you tried Oculus Social Alpha? Let us know what you think of it in the comments section.
[Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images]