Convrge, the social VR platform known for hosting some of the first large-scale social meetups in virtual reality, has announced signups for a Gear VR beta, which will allow Samsung Gear VR users to mingle and also watch YouTube videos with Oculus Rift DK2 owners.

The newly announced cross-compatible beta will take place in the platform’s Cinemas section, an intimate 5-person space that will host both Gear VR users and Oculus Rift DK2 users simultaneously. Much like Oculus Social, users are confined to one of 5 seats along the space’s couch, so no navigation scheme or controller input is required.

The developers behind Convrge, Shawn Whiting and Hayden Lee, say they’ll be launching the first wave of betas sometime next week, and that it will be cross-compatible with DK2 from day one. “Social YouTube viewing will be the first activity we’re including, with more activities in the coming months,” says the team in a blog post announcing the Gear VR beta.

See Also: ‘Cinemas’ Social Home Theater Space for Oculus Rift Launches from Creators of ‘Convrge’

convrge shawn and hayden
Convrge devs Hayden Lee (left) and Shawn Whiting (right) showing off cross-compatibility of ‘Convrge Cinemas’with DK2 and Gear VR

I had a chance to get into the pre-beta Gear VR version of Cinemas, and was welcomed back to the long crescent-shaped couch in the unmistakably cozy tavern setting. This is of course no surprise, considering it’s the exact same space currently available to DK2 users. What did change however is the on-screen keyboard that lets you search for YouTube videos and play them globally for everyone in the room. As of this writing, there is no queue system for videos, so you’ll need to trust your cinema-mates to not throw anything up too obnoxious—but with only 4 other floating avatar heads to contend with, it shouldn’t be too hard to decide on one of YouTube’s many full length ’80s movies or old episodes of the Twilight Zone (1959-64).

Sign up for ‘Convrge’ Gear VR Beta

First ‘Bonelab’ Update in More Than a Year Brings Enhancements for Quest 3, Modding & Physics

Along with the Gear VR beta, the team has also announced a Who’s Online app for Android devices, developed by community member Christian Coleman, aka ‘Parachan’. The app, like Convrge’s ‘Who’s Online’ page, allows you to see the name and number of people currently on the VR platform.

Full disclosure: The author currently co-hosts a weekly live show in Convrge called ‘The Deep End’.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 4,000 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • BioFanatic

    Those socks with sandals… “between the toe” sandals to boot! lol.
    This app looks great, looking forward to it! :)

  • Chris Wren

    Tried it out this morning, only found one other person in it. Like it better than Altspace, definite potential. Mushrooms and swords = good combo. Controls need a lot of work and more interactions needed. IT looks like they have several rooms planned, only forest and one fantasy bar are in right now.

  • Tommy Muldoon

    Very cool experience. The ambient background sounds get a bit annoying if you’re actually just trying to watch a video though.