The best non-gaming apps and experiences for HTC Vive

VR is for more than games
The best apps for HTC Vive

When a lot of people talk or think about VR, they immediately think about games. For good reason, VR just so happens to be an extremely immersive way to put you into games. But what if you're not a gamer?

What if you want to use virtual reality to get things done? Or experience new places? Or do absolutely anything other than shoot virtual bad guys or rack up a high score?

Read this: The best games for HTC Vive

There are plenty of ways to enjoy VR, and if you've got a HTC Vive and are looking for something to experience that's a little different - or if you just want to know what else is out there - this list is for you.

Virtual Desktop

The desktop is our default way to get things done, but there are limits. Its 2D nature creates a disconnect between you and your content, and they're limited by hardware capabilities (hello, display size!).

Virtual Desktop takes these two limitations and throws them in the trash. You can interact with your desktop like you would interact with your phone or tablet. You also will have a whole bunch more space, and a more immersive environment for all of that content. That means watching Netflix large and loud while also tending to some light spreadsheet work.

$14.99, Steam

Masterpiece VR

Have you ever tried modeling something on a computer? It's like tying your shoes while playing hopscotch. It's absurdly difficult, which is a shame because even the smallest child can sculpt when given clay.

Masterpiece VR uses virtual reality to make sculpting 3D models that easy again. You take your touch controllers and sculpt away, as if you were handling the clay with your own hands. Even better, Masterpiece VR enables co-designing. So you and some buddies (or co-workers) can create things together in the same space. There's even a spectator mode for others to watch your creation come to life.

$29.99, Steam

Engage

If nothing else, Engage is certainly ambitious. It's a VR educational platform that allows teachers and professors to record VR lessons for students to go through. These experiences can be as simple as putting a virtual skeleton together or going into a giant version of the Titanic.

There are also lessons from the likes of Neil deGrasse Tyson, whose lecture starts like any other but soon morphs and changes as he goes on, with models and animations popping in. Because this is a social platform, too, you'll be able to interact with teachers and fellow students.

Free, Steam

3D Organon VR Anatomy

Learning about the human body can be, uh, messy - to put it mildly. Virtual reality has the benefit of making it clean and not-so-gross. 3D Organon VR Anatomy will help you learn human anatomy with over 4,000 realistic anatomical models for your perusal. You can also take the human body apart, getting a sense of the scale and size of human organs that you never could have gotten otherwise. Well, unless you're a medical professional.

$29.99, Steam

Allumette

A good example of the potential power of VR storytelling, Allumette simply has you playing the camera as a 30-minute stop-motion film plays in front of you. You can pay attention to the main narrative if you wish, or you can look around at the rest of the scenery. It's up to you, but you wouldn't want to miss out on this one regardless.

Free, Steam

Google Earth VR

Google Earth is one of the best mapping applications ever built. It's beautiful to look at and incredibly accurate - so accurate that someone even used it to track down his long lost family. We've used Google Earth plenty on our desktops and mobile devices, but it takes on a whole new, immersive and epic quality in VR. You're not just playing around with a great map anymore, you're in that great map.

Free, Steam

Kingspray Graffiti VR

Ever think you could be the next Banksy if it weren't for the cops and running around in the dead of night with a bunch of supplies and a mask on? Well, this is your lucky day because this experience is exactly that. You and a group of friends can simply hang out in seedy locations tagging stuff.

$14.99, Steam

Ocean Rift

Ocean Rift bills itself as a VR aquatic safari park, and, well, it's pretty close. You'll be floating in a virtual ocean just swimming around, and when you come up to a sea creature you can simply tap on it to learn more, complete with a narrator telling you all about it. Touch a fish, get in a shark cage, stare down a funky looking crab. Whatever your heart desires in the underwater frontier is possible.

$9.99, Steam

Within

When it comes to collecting premiere VR content and huddling them all in one place, it's hard to beat Within. You'll get all kinds of stuff, from behind the scenes looks at movies to unique experiences to 360 videos from far off lands and action sports footage you'd never dream off. The app is continually updated with new content too, so it shouldn't get stale.

Free, Steam

Disney Movies VR

If you've got kids, or are a kid at heart, there are few reasons not to dive into Disney Movies VR. You'll get a couple themed lands to explore, putting you into the worlds of Marvel, Star Wars and Disney proper. You'll also be able to watch fully immersive VR clips from recent Disney movies, like The Jungle Book and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Let's put it this way: If you've ever wanted to hang out with BB-8 on the Millennium Falcon this is for you.

Free, Steam

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