Microsoft’s flagship social VR platform brings its unique brand of events to the Quest.
When I bought my HTC Vive in 2017, I already had a list of games and experiences I wanted to try first. Experiences giving you magical powers were at the top of that list, followed by games like Job Simulator and Star Trek: Bridge Crew. Noticeably absent from the list were any apps you might categorize as ‘social VR’ – virtual platforms focused primarily on allowing you to speak and interact with other people.
At the time, the idea of living out every childhood daydream is what excited me most about VR. By comparison, sitting in a virtual room and talking to strangers didn’t seem all that exciting. Ironically, after finally trying it, I realized that my vision of what social VR was and could become simply lacked imagination.
AltspaceVR, acquired by Microsoft in October 2017, has a been a beloved mainstay of the social VR space since its launch in 2015. Though many would be hard-pressed to differentiate these apps just a few years ago, each one has since carved out a niche market in the industry. AltspaceVR has positioned itself as the destination for virtual live events, boasting a long history of celebrities like Reggie Watts performing on the platform since its inception.
With an eye on bringing social VR to the masses, AltspaceVR has been working on an impressive update that includes support for Facebook’s groundbreaking Quest headset. Taking to Twitter last Wednesday, AltspaceVR officially announced that the platform’s much-anticipated Oculus Quest launch will land on September 12th, making the 6DoF standalone headset the seventh supported device (including 2D desktop mode on PC). But that’s just the beginning.
To welcome Quest owners into the family, AltspaceVR has prepared a massive lineup of virtual events. “We’re excited to welcome a new VR audience to AltspaceVR and we’re planning hundreds of hours of live events to celebrate,” said Katie Kelly, Program Owner of AltspaceVR. “Now Quest lovers can come into AltspaceVR for new shows every day. We have tech talks, comedy shows, open mic nights, LGBT meetups, VR church, and more, with over 300 events a month.”
Veterans of the app will also be treated to a number of updates and improvements. AltspaceVR has taken this opportunity to optimize the user-experience, as well as add six new multi-use environments. Headlining these new additions is The Screen Door Effect, a high-capacity club venue suited for everything from concerts to watch parties and televised debates. It even provides spaces for users to relax in smaller numbers, away from the chaos of the main crowd.
Seeking to reduce the awkwardness of meeting new people, AltspaceVR took special care to create these spaces with natural ice breakers. Games like basketball and bean bag toss let you loosen up and fall into a natural conversation, while Holograms Against Reality provides a more structured but always-entertaining group activity.
Those new to the app can take advantage of AltspaceVR’s featured events and worlds, which are curated for quality and content. These include helpful meetups like the recurring “AltspaceVR 101,” as well as popular worlds often occupied by AltpaceVR Community Helpers, allowing new users to explore in a safe and supported way.
Those hoping to create their own worlds will also find a home on the platform with the AltspaceVR MRE SDK, bringing that childhood wonder to life in a whole new way. Keep an eye on the AltspaceVR Twitter and website for more news leading up to the September 12th launch.
Feature Image Credit: AltspaceVR, Microsoft