Our first social experience in VR, last year at Oculus' developer conference, was spooky. Not horror spooky, but I feel like I'm really sitting in a movie theater with these complete strangers even though I'm really not spooky. Soon more people will have that kind of experience, as Oculus is set to roll out an integrated social feature for the Gear VR.
Much like Xbox Live or the PSN, Oculus' mobile platform will soon have a built-in social element. Starting Thursday, Gear VR owners will be able to create a profile and find fellow Gear VR-owning friends (searching by either username or real name) to team up with or play against in various virtual reality games and environments.
New social games include Oculus' own Social Trivia (as you'd imagine, it's a knowledge battle you can play with friends), Herobound: Gladiators (a multiplayer arena fighting game based on the single-player Herobound series for Gear VR and Oculus Rift) and the ability to create social rooms (movie theaters, for collective watching experiences) in the Oculus Social app.
The timing for the social launch (this Thursday) will be just a day before the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, both Gear VR compatible smartphones, officially hit stores in the US. It's also just a few weeks until the first Oculus Rift preorders start shipping. The Rift will have a social component built-in as well; we'd be surprised if it weren't the exact same thing as this Gear VR version with, if anything, a slightly different UI for PCs.
Normally the launch of yet another social gaming network wouldn't exactly be front page material here, but VR has a way of taking a standard social gaming component and turning it into something approaching the Metaverse – a virtual world where people all over the world can interact with each other as if they're in the same room. When talking to Oculus execs at events, they all say that's where they think this is going. The Internet changed the world dramatically, and the Metaverse, as much as anything else in VR, could do the same thing a few years down the road.
You can read more on the Oculus social launch at the source link below. For more on the Gear VR, you can check out our full review.