Mobile VR can be an isolating experience with most games and apps focusing on single player, but all that is set to change with the release of the Oculus Social Alpha for Gear VR.

The Alpha release allows you and up to 4 others to connect online and watch Twitch or Vimeo content in a theater setting. As-well as being able to view content simultaneously Oculus have implemented a basic avatar system and voice chat functionality.  You've currently got a choice of 27 different Avatars and apart from your stock standard human you can choose from the likes of a Teddy Bear, Devil, Aliens, Robots and much more.

 

 

Once in the theater, your avatar takes the form of a disembodied head that floats above your chair, though relatively simple in design they add a vital element to the social aspect. Real world head movement is mapped to that of your Avatar and having the ability to look directly at others while engaging in conversation feels natural to the point where you can almost forget you're not all physically located in same room.

Each theater room is assigned a host that controls the content being viewed and can select from a preset range of Vimeo or Twitch streams; the alpha also provides the ability for the host to sign in directly to their twitch account and select from their own favorites list.

I spent many hours in Oculus Social over this past weekend and had a blast chatting and watching videos with other like-minded VR fans and devs from all over the globe. This is definitely ground breaking stuff and with Oculus's own John Carmack commenting on twitter that the alpha was pushed out “in a very raw state” and that there will also be a group trivia game launching soon I can't wait to see how the final product turns out.

 

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