Facebook's Oculus Rooms on Gear VR is good for chat, TV and games

Social VR gets slicker
Gear VR goes social: Chat, TV & games

Virtual reality is still searching for a way to pull in the masses, with Facebook aiming to win big by prioritising social networking.

The stage for this, of course, is Oculus Rooms — a virtual apartment which harbours dedicated areas for chats, gaming, TV and app launching. In order to reach this realm from the Oculus Home menu, it's as simple as connecting with a chum on Facebook and selecting the Party option. Despite the name, though, the unadulterated fun of Rooms is currently only available through Samsung's Gear VR, with the Oculus Rift app coming later in 2017.

Essential reading: The best VR headsets

Within the chat zone, you'll be interacting through your VR avatar and not text like you'll be used to on the web.

While the social experience shouldn't differ too greatly between Gear VR and Oculus, the use of the avatar will likely be more immersive when using the latter thanks to its Touch controllers providing you with a pair of virtual hands. Samsung's equivalent, meanwhile, only shows off your bizarrely floating avatar head as in the Oculus Social beta which Rooms builds on.

Away from the customisable hairstyles and basic chat options, you can also team up with your squad and enjoy the games and TV area. While basic, the gaming section is likely to be hit up by users the most. It features just three games — Lights, Words and Pairs — but the nature of social VR gaming lends itself to simple fun rather than elaborate sandbox adventures.

Of course, this is all part of a vision Facebook overlord Mark Zuckerberg has outlined for some time.

Back in 2015, he said: "Ten years ago it was text. Now it's mostly visual and photos, then primarily video and we're seeing huge growth there, but that is not the end of the line. Immersive 3D content is the obvious next thing after video."

Zuck hasn't stopped there, either, hinting just last week that his social network could invest a further $3 billion in the platform over the next five to ten years.


Shop for VR headsets on Amazon

Oculus Rift
Oculus Rift
$399
PlayStation VR
PlayStation VR
$299.99
HTC Vive
HTC Vive
$599.99
Samsung Gear VR
Samsung Gear VR
$94.63

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