Most of the apps and features for the Samsung Gear VR are for games and entertainment. Today, Samsung’s Gear VR partner Oculus announced it is launching some new social-themed features for the smartphone headset. The new Rooms and Parties features will allow owners to get together with their friends in virtual reality.
In order to find some friends to hang with, Gear VR owners can link up via their Facebook and Oculus accounts, or they can search for friends by their real name or Oculus username. After you actually find some folks to hang with, you can see when they are actually online. You can also call up to three of your Gear VR friends and chat all at once with the new Oculus Parties feature.
The Oculus Rooms feature can also be launched after you collect your three friends. As the name suggests, you and your friends will see the same virtual room, which you can use to watch videos together or play simple matching or guessing games. Finally, the room can serve as an app launcher for you and your friends to play in VR-supported multiplayer games. Oculus says it will add the Rooms and Parties features to its PC-based Oculus Rift headset sometime in 2017.
These new social features are a very limited first step for Oculus as it tries to move beyond just entertainment and into actually having real people interact with each other, but remotely in a virtual environment. Oculus’s parent company Facebook showed off a demo of such a feature in October during its developer conference, where cartoon-like avatars that represented real people gathered together in a virtual room.