Stuck indoors? Well, you should know that your VR headset is way more than just a Beat Saber machine. You can actually chat, play, and watch movies with your friends, almost as if the world wasn’t thrust into a global pandemic—or whatever is keeping you from going outside.
Here’s a few choice apps where you can connect with friends, or meet new friends too. Either way, it sure beats FaceTime. Oh, and all of them are free too!
The OG of social VR apps is still going strong, even nearly six years after its initial release on Oculus Rift DK1 in 2014. Over time, it’s created a unique culture of weird, organic memes thanks to its open avatar and world creation abilities. You can also connect with non-VR headset owning buddies here, making for an awesome meeting point for basically everyone… except PSVR owners – at least for now.
There’s a lobby now where you can hang out and chat, but really the bulk of Bigscreen’s draw is being able to sit down with friends or strangers and bond over its unlimited viewing capabilities. Anything you can access on your computer and display to your monitor can be shared with anyone, making Bigscreen the gold standard of social viewing platforms. You can also pay to watch movies now too, which is a nice touch if you aren’t already signed up to a streaming service like Netflix or Prime Video.
Chilling and chatting is cool, and you can totally do just that in Rec Room, but this cross-platform beauty unites all of the VR headset-owning community in one vibrant, fun place. There are co-op ‘quests’ to go on, a battle royale shooter, and plenty of reasons to stick around and have fun outside of shooting the breeze with your mates.
NeosVR is like the offspring of an operating system, a game engine, and a chat room; it wants to be the metaverse. That said, it’s pretty technical, but the things you can build there in-game are fantastic. It even has its own cryptocurrency, although the userbase isn’t near large enough to make it functional just yet.
Ok, I said all of these social apps are free, and that’s still technically true with OrbusVR. arguably VR’s most full-featured MMORPG. You can play for free up until level 10, and mix with the entire playerbase in the process. Play as a bard, mage, paladin, shaman, scoundrel and more as you explore the wide open world of Patraeyl.
Mozilla Hubs is a lightweight social program that isn’t actually an app at all, rather a WebXR-based social experience which makes for effortless, one-click creation of virtual rooms which anyone can join—from smartphones desktop browsers to VR headsets—directly from the browser. Just put in your room code for your private chat room and join your friends on any device.
Unfortunately for now it’s only for Rift users, although with completely customizable spaces there’s good enough reason to meet your friends in an Oculus Home space before launching off to other multiplayer games. That is until Facebook Horizons makes its way to the platform, which ought to unite all Oculus users under a single app.
No need to download anything. It’s already baked into the desktop runtime.
Like Oculus Home, SteamVR Home isn’t really a traditional chat room, although it has some of the best custom-made spaces out of all social spaces. Where else can you hang out with friends in a preview section of Half-Life: Alyx?
It’s baked into SteamVR, although you may want to visit the Steam Workshop to browse the available user-built spaces.
vTime is a bit of a sleeper on this list, as it doesn’t offer screen sharing or madcap user-generated content, but if you’re at all intimidated by any of that and are just looking for a chill place to chat with minimal setup, vTime is a great place to do it. Working somewhat like a social network, you make friends and send chat invites to people, and are then seated for round-table style chat in a variety of slick locations.
AltspaceVR includes live shows, meetups, classes, and is accessible on a number of VR headsets. Although it’s not the most lively platform as it once was in the early days of VR, you the basic functionality is all there, and the community engagement is still impressively high. Check out all the upcoming events here.
What are your favorite social VR apps? Let us know in the comments below!