Oculus always said virtual reality can be a shared experience, and now it's making good on that promise for Samsung Gear VR with a slew of new social features and, most intriguingly, Facebook integration.
Facebook, which is Oculus' parent company, is coming into Gear VR through a feature it's really keen on: 360-degree video.
Now, there's a Facebook Video tab in the Oculus Video app so users can pick out 360 videos to watch in virtual reality. Starting next week, Gear VR wearers will be able to connect their Facebook account so they can start to personalize the videos they see based on what people and Pages they know are creating.
But it doesn't stop at watching Facebook 360 videos. In the coming weeks, Gear VR wearers will also be able to like, react and share the videos they watch to their Facebook feeds without having to leave VR.
This eliminates ever having to leave a virtual reality experience to engage on social media. It should work wonders in helping users feel connected with the world, even while wearing a headset.
In addition to Facebook, the team behind Oculus Rift has more social goodies designed to enhance how users interact with one another while wearing Samsung-and-Oculus-built Gear VR.
Beginning tomorrow, Gear VR owners can create a profile using their real name or an "Oculus username" and search for friends. From the looks of the app, you can send people friend requests, peek at your friends list, look at who's online and see what they're playing.
Once you connect, what do you do? Play games, of course. Today, Oculus is adding new, made-for-virtual-reality games to Gear VR that allow you to team up with people you know and play against anyone in the world.
One such game is Social Trivia. Made by Oculus, it's like the virtual version of Trivial Pursuit. Another, Herobound: Gladiators, is a goblins and demons arena battle co-op with integrated voice chat for plotting purposes.
Social Trivia is up now in the Concepts section of the Oculus Store, and Herobound is on the Store shelves.
If you don't want to play but still want to commune with others in virtual reality, Oculus Social now lets you create rooms to hang out and watch Twitch or Vimeo video streams in together.
And one last bit on the Oculus Store: Users can now leave app reviews with a star rating and comment. It's a smart move, letting Oculus see what apps users like and which they're less than fond of.
- Here's our hands on review of HTC Vive