Virtual reality-based social platforms emerge
Despite the many forms of entertainment available today, young people are choosing to spend more time on social media than any other medium. Zs even think that video chatting is just as fun as hanging out IRL. In a reflection of this shift, new VR social networks are emerging to offer youth more immersive ways to connect, hang out, and be entertained.
One of the main barriers holding youth back from embracing VR is that it’s difficult to be social while wearing a headset and occupying a virtual world alone. Vicarious offers a solution to this problem with its customizable VR social media network. Users create their own 3D environment using their personal photos, videos, and audio and can add emojis, stickers, animated characters, and more through Vicarious, then invite their friends to join their custom world. VicariousVR is compatible with Google Daydream but can also be viewed in 2D without a VR headset by using the app.
Youth desire epic entertainment, which can be difficult to obtain such through typical social media experiences, but virtual reality is helping take social networks to the next level. Created by Liverpool-based tech company Starship, vTime allows users to connect with friends and meet strangers through personalized avatars that can interact in fun environments like a talk show set, destinations like Paris, or in a user’s own photo library. vTime is compatible with Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear, and Google VR headsets, and hangouts can be viewed in 2D by others without VR capabilities.
At this spring’s F8, Facebook’s developer conference, the company announced a new iteration of its social networking platform. Facebook Spaces is way to hang out with friends using virtual reality, compatible with Facebook’s Oculus Rift VR headset. Users build avatars that hang out in virtual environments, like a boardwalk or movie set, where they can takes selfies and draw pictures. If a user’s friends don’t have the Oculus headset, they can still view the interactions via Messenger. Unlike VR exercise, Facebook Spaces is immobile; even avatars can’t walk around their virtual environments.