Virtual reality just got a lot more social and it's not a Facebook and Oculus love-in as you might expect.
AltspaceVR, a software company which has built a social chatroom for virtual reality, announced that it is coming to Samsung's Gear VR, in a first for mobile VR headsets. The launch was revealed in a wonderfully meta method - with a press conference within Altspace's virtual chatroom itself with its CEO Eric Romo beaming in via Oculus Rift.
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We don't have an exact date but a closed alpha trial of Altspace will launch for Gear VR soon and is taking sign-ups now. The social chat experience, which will also launch on HTC Vive when it goes on sale, involves a virtual space where you can meet friends or colleagues who appear as avatars.
It's also cross-platform allowing users with an Oculus hooked up to a PC to chat with friends who have slotted their Galaxy S6 into a Gear VR.
Users can chat in VR, watch streamed video together - a la Oculus Cinema which isn't yet confirmed to be cross-platform - and also take part in a shared web browsing experience. In other words, we're scrambling around trying to find reasons to book in a virtual, global meeting so we can try it out.
"We've seen great interest in social viewing around movies, TV shows, and eSports, and we're excited to bring those experiences to mobile users," said Romo.
"Some people will choose a desktop PC-based experience, and others will prefer mobile VR, but both groups should be able to interact and feel like they're in the same place with AltspaceVR, without compromise."
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