Facebook’s Oculus VR subsidiary is adding more social features to its platform, in the hope of combating concerns that virtual reality is an isolating technology.
“The transportive magic of VR is even better when it’s experienced with other people,” is how Oculus prefers to pitch it. The new features include the ability to watch 360 videos with friends within the Oculus Rooms app on Samsung’s Gear VR headset.
There’s also a new thing called Oculus Events, which could be relevant for music. “This new feature lets you find public events and interact with others in Gear VR,” explained the company. “Oculus Events runs the gamut from multiplayer games and tournaments to tech talks and trivia.”
It doesn’t mention concerts – and obviously there are some rights issues here – but Oculus Events could be a decent hub for directing Gear VR owners towards live-streamed gigs in VR.
Finally, Oculus is also adding the option for people to live-stream whatever they’re doing with Gear VR to Facebook – as in a video feed of what they’re seeing and doing within the headset.
It’s interesting to see all this happening with Samsung’s device rather than the Oculus Rift desktop headset: perhaps another sign of Facebook’s VR focus shifting towards smartphone-based systems?