A new documentary that was filmed entirely in VR is coming to HBO later this month that focuses on the individuals and communities growing in social VR spaces.

Created by director Joe Hunting and premiered at 2022 Sundance Film Festival, We Met in Virtual Reality explores the lives of real VR users who met in VRChat and their experiences living on the platform.

VRChat is one of the most popular social VR platforms thanks to its ability to allow custom avatars and user-generated content such as rooms and experiences. The platform, which is available on Quest and PC VR headsets, is also free as well as being open to non-VR users on PC.

The film is said to reveal “the growing power and intimacy of several relationships formed in the virtual world, many of which began during the COVID-19 lockdown while so many in the physical world were facing intense isolation.”

The film follows a few people on their journey through VR, such as Jenny, an American Sign Language (ASL) teacher who’s dedicated to building a welcoming community for deaf and hard of hearing VRChat users. The film also follows a number of long distance relationships sparked and maintained in VRChat. A fitness dance instructor named ‘DustBunny’ talks about building a career in social VR dance classes.

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The creators say the film has “elements of humor, serendipitous interactions and unexpected events that characterize real life.”

We Met in Virtual Reality tenderly documents the stories of people experiencing love, loss and unexpected connection, expressing vulnerability around mental health struggles and questions about identity, offering a hyper-real journey into the human experience of an online world that may soon shape the future,” the film’s description reads.

We Met in Virtual Reality debuts on July 27th on HBO (schedule here), and will also be available to stream on HBO Max.

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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 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • JakeDunnegan

    This is kind of silly.

    People have been meeting online for decades, literally. I met my current wife of almost 28 years on the Internet, on a MUD. It was a “virtual reality” then, the only difference is the baud rate, and the graphical detail. (Technically, it was just text then.)

    Why is some floaty-anime-ish avatar thingy any more “real” than a text description of an avatar from last century? I guess, there’s the advantage of voice chat and simulated sex, if you go that far, but this speaks more the idea of a shared experience between two people (and the lack of any good new ideas for television) than it does to some new medium for meeting people.

    TL;DR: people have been meeting people online now in droves, and in fact, overtaking other mediums for quite some time:


    • Ryan McClelland

      VR is the same, but different. See the movie, or make friends in VR Chat, and you will see.

    • kontis

      Disagree. This is like saying iPhone was nothing new because we had cellphones before. Ot that tiktok must be irrelevant because youtube already existed.

      Modern VR and especially VRChat with full body tracking does tons of things that were never done before. The devil is in the detail. Some examples:
      – dancing together remotely
      – having actual body language and recognizing other people because of it even when they change avatars
      – using sign language to communicate remotely using your own hands
      – hugging other people instead of using some pre-made emotes
      – feeling the sense of presence of other people thanks to orthostereo HMDs, HRTF audio, simulated eye tracking (eye contact), virtual 3D mirrors greatly enhancing proprioception and sense of owning different body
      – all the silly situations that happen after drinking too much at a party with friends that cannot be replicated digitally without full body tracking – crying form laughter before VRC because of interaction with other people in online games was voice only. Now it’s people using their bodies like IRL doing dumb things. In other words people just being people. Invaluable.

      I saw a livestream of bedridden girl crying when she met her friends in VR- she felt completely different compared to using normal online games for years before that. As the phantom senses kicked in strongly for her she felt like she could smell the perfume of the other person. You can’t get this stuff any other way.

      • ViRGiN

        you ever gonna link up to that “body tracking” SDK?

  • Ryan McClelland

    Great movie, saw it three times! Excited to see what a general audience thinks.

    • Guest

      Wonder why that clip does not show their meat-world bodies? They must not be the type of people one would ever have as friends in reality.

      • Ryan McClelland

        If you see the film, you will understand why. I am friends with some of the subjects of the film. Why do you think “They must not be the type of people one would ever have as friends in reality.” ?

      • PK

        what compels someone reading this site to then share some bigoted thought that pops into their head with the other readers? is it just a desire to trigger those that actually care about society? the filmmakers have traveled the world promoting the film, people pay them to fly to their festivals and appear in person. and then got it signed to HBO, because it’s really good and they’re excellent representatives. and why would a trailer about virtual friendships show their non-avatars? that’s besides the point.

        • sfmike

          It’s not really a silly idea, it’s just the avenue that the filmmakers decided to take, an artistic decision. People who aren’t happy with other people’s work should create their own. I know I’m asking too much.

  • david vincent

    Looks much better than Ready Player One movie.

    • sfmike

      Don’t compare real time rendering with top-of-the-line 2018 cinematic computer graphics. It makes you look dumb.

      • david vincent

        Obviously I wasn’t comparing the appearance of those movies, duh ! (Who looks dumb now ?)
        On one hand : RPO is a dumb, unrealistic story written for teenagers with a dumb, unrealistic metaverse (having to pay real money to travel in VR ? Seriously?)
        On the other hand : VR Chat is the real sh*t, even if it’s not a complete metaverse.