The best non-gaming experiences and apps for Oculus Rift

VR's not just for games
The best apps for Oculus Rift

You've got your shiny new Oculus Rift and you can't wait to jump into the big, beautiful world of virtual reality. You've heard about all the great games like Echo Arena, but you also want to know what else is out there.

VR has become mostly synonymous with gaming, but that's not all it's good for. It turns out it's pretty useful to get things done in 3D space, or to have social experiences with people from all across the world.

Read this: The best games for Oculus Rift

But where do you start? Which non-gaming experiences are worth your time, attention, and – in some cases – hard earned cash? This is the list for you.

Facebook Spaces

Mark Zuckerberg bought Oculus for a reason, and a lot of that is because he sees it as a great new way to socialise with people from all around the world. Facebook Spaces lets you create a little avatar that you can use to interact with your Facebook friends. You can add in props and livestream stuff and even do a video call or check in on comments. It's chaotic, kooky and fun.

Free, Oculus Store

Google Earth VR

Frankly, Google Earth is one of the best apps ever created. It's so easy to get lost in exploring the world and mapping things out. Sometimes it feels like you've literally – not digitally – got the entire world in your hands. Google Earth VR adapts that feeling, putting you into the entire world.

Free, Oculus Store

Allumette

Yes, you can tell beautiful stories in virtual reality. Penrose Studios has done that consistently, but Allumette is its best work yet. Not only do you get to experience this story, you can move around the world and explore the area outside of the narrative.

Free, Oculus Store

Nature Treks VR

Virtual reality has the ability to transport you to entire new worlds, and one of the best ways to take advantage of that ability is meditation. If you've had a tough day or just need to break free from the drudgery of daily life, Nature Treks VR has got you covered. There are 10 pristine locations for you to relax in, and you can even take control of the weather and environment with the Oculus Touch controllers. Don't forget to be on the lookout for the wildlife, too.

$9.99, Oculus Store

Oculus Video

The best non-gaming experiences for Oculus Rift

If you want to just watch some video and chill, then the Oculus Video app is probably your best bet. You can watch Facebook 360 videos, Twitch and Vimeo, and even choose your viewing location. So if you want to delve into the deep and dangerous depths of YouTube in a big, fancy virtual theatre – you can. If you want to watch something on the moon, go for it. Yes, really.

Free, Oculus Store

Blocks by Google

Have you ever tried to draw a 3D object on a computer? Without specialised gadgets it's practically impossible, but virtual reality has the benefit of letting you play in 3D space, which means anyone can easily build 3D objects. Google's Blocks app is a user friendly way to instantly start creating, and you can finally let your imagination run wild. Pixar, here you come.

Free, Oculus Store

Thread Studio

Ever want to craft sweet, sweet merch? It could be as simple as creating shirts for a family reunion or small business, or raising funds for a charity or cause close to your heart. Thread Studio makes it easy to create your own shirts and more, placing them on mannequins and getting a 3D view before you export them to Shopify to create and sell/give away.

Free, Oculus Store

The Body VR

The human body is a miraculous thing, but despite that it's still a tough thing to wrap your mind around. The Body VR puts you into the human body, getting you to ride around the blood stream to see how everything works. It's like being in the Magic School bus, but without all that time warping which definitely should have fucked up those poor kids' heads.

Free, Oculus Store

Bear Island

The best non-gaming experiences for Oculus Rift

BBC Earth's Bear Island has you following along with a bear named Swift, who just wants to find a good spot for some fishing. Unfortunately, our new friend faces some competition from the likes of older bears and wolves, and it's up to you to help her out. The crazy thing about Bear Island is that it was crafted using real footage. You're going to want to binge Planet Earth straight after this, trust us.

Free, Oculus Store

Fall in Love

Inspired by a combination of Taylor Swift and The New York Times' The 36 Questions That Lead To Love, Fall in Love VR uses VR and voice recognition software to try to create a conversation between you and a virtual actor. The idea is that you ask those 36 questions and listen to the actor across from you, and see if you can fall in love with this virtual character. It's bizarre, possibly creepy and wildly experimental, but it also feels like a bridge to our sci-fi future.

Free, Oculus Store


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