Social VR platform TheWaveVR is now in open beta and delivering weekly DJ sets in its wild and weird environment filled with psychedelic interactive art. Distributing free of charge on Steam Early Access for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, the platform lets you watch, host, and socialize in shows while music is mixed live.
The company has been developing TheWaveVR for a year, and while it’s basically a social VR platform that lets you invite friends, chat and explore—like AltspaceVR, RecRoom, or VRChat—the software is more centered around hosting weekly virtual concerts where select musicians can mix music live. These so-called “Wave Shows” are said to pick up in frequency over the coming months, likely playing as cornerstones to the platform’s general draw.
To further its development, the company has also garnered an additional $4 million in seed funds led by Upfront Ventures in Los Angeles, bringing total funds to $6.5 million. Other investors in the second seed round include RRE Ventures, KPCB Edge, Greycroft VR Gaming Tracker Fund and The VR Fund.
“We’re hyper focused on creating the most new and engaging social experiences for music content in VR,” said CEO and Co-Founder Adam Arrigo, who spent seven years working for Harmonix, creators of Rock Band and Dance Central. “We think the potential of this new medium isn’t in replicating reality, but amplifying it, so we want to give fans interactive experiences that can only be achieved in virtual reality.”
The platform does this via a virtual mixing table, where musicians can grab track samples, represented by actual records, and toss them onto one of two turntables. There’s a fader, volume controls, various filters, and a tempo slider; but in addition to the standard turntable knobs, there are two transparent cubes to the right and left where you can apply effects in real-time ranging from a basic echo to a low-fi bitcrush option that pixelates your vision when activated.
“On the artist side, we’re building out the tools that let musicians and visual artists easily import and distribute their content on our platform,” Arrigo added.
I stepped into TheWaveVR right before last night’s inaugural kick-off party and was overwhelmed by the choices presented before me. I could emit a number of effects from my hands, a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers—Hunter S. Thompson references aside—plenty of beautiful and mystifying lights that were nothing short of entrancing. The social lobby, a dark rocky world, was populated with interactive ‘entities’ that would either produce music or a cool visual effect. Adding a room of dancing avatars and a DJ standing atop a rocky outcrop to the mix—all shooting off disco balls and crackling streamers—was the sort of impossible and trippy world only possible in VR.
CCO and co-founder Aaron Lemke, also known for his meditative VR experiences Eden River (2014) and Zen Zone (2015), said that they’ve user tested TheWaveVR with “dozens of music creators and fans,” saying that feedback during the open beta “will directly fuel the development of new features.”