Ever since social networking giant Facebook acquired virtual reality (VR) company Oculus VR last year there’s been talk about the tech’s use as a brand new social platform. One of the most promising aspects of VR is the potential to meet up with friends and family from across the globe and interact with them as if they were in the same room. So far the company’s work in this field has only been seen in Toybox, its two-player tech demo for the Oculus Touch controllers for the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD). This week, however, the company has launched an alpha for Oculus Social, a new app for the Gear VR mobile HMD, made in partnership with Samsung.
The Oculus Social Alpha is the latest release onto the Oculus Store from which users can download new content for the Gear VR, which is made in partnership with Samsung. According to an official description, the app allows friends to meet up and watch Twitch and Vimeo videos together in a ‘social theater’. Players will be able to talk with others as they watch content. The content appears to be free to download. As this is simply an Alpha, Oculus VR is also encouraging people to leave feedback about the title over on its official website.
This release comes as something of a surprise as Oculus VR has made no mention of it in the past, even at its Oculus Connect 2 developer conference in September in which it announced plenty of new content for the Gear VR. At that show the company the also revealed the consumer version of the Gear VR, which is due to launch next month around the world. The device, which costs just $99 USD and is set to work with all of Samsung’s 2015 smartphones, will arrive before Black Friday on 27th November in the US and shortly thereafter in other countries.
VRFocus will continue to follow Oculus Social and all other Gear VR apps, reporting back with the latest updates on them.