Oculus reveals a tantalizing glimpse at social VR's radical future

Reach out and touch somebody.

Ever since Facebook bought Oculus in 2014, we've been waiting for the other shoe to drop—the other shoe being "Social Integration," or whatever fancy term you want to apply. And today at the third annual Oculus Connect conference in San Jose we got a radical look at how that might actually manifest in the future.

In a live stage demo presented by Mark Zuckerberg himself, we saw a unified "people-first" environment that could seamlessly cycle through hanging out with friends (or at least your friends' avatars) in various VR environments, such as the bottom of the ocean or Mars itself. In various demonstrations, Zuckerberg showcased the sort of activities social VR can enable, such as playing chess, cards, and other games…

vr cards

…watching movies on oversized screens, summoned at a moment’s notice…

vr social primary

…receiving Facebook Messenger video calls from people outside VR…

vr messenger call

…taking selfies with your virtual pals, via a digital selfie stick (ugh)…

vr selfies

…and then shuffling through those selfies as if they were digital polaroids, then seamlessly posting them to—you guessed it—Facebook.

vr pictures post to facebook

Is it going anywhere? Who knows. There's still no official product announcement, no "Coming to Facebook in 2017" or anything like that. But it's a tantalizing look at a facet of virtual reality that could end up as important as—or more important than—gaming, education, and all the other extant areas of VR development.

Facebook certainly seems determined though. Before wrapping up that segment of the presentation, Zuckerberg said the company's already invested $250 million in software, and promised another $250 million to come. That's big money—a big enough push that it seems safe to say Oculus is around for the long-term.

vr avatars

And Oculus is laying the groundwork to make Zuckerberg’s dream a (virtual) reality, announcing new Oculus Avatars (pictured above) that will launch on the Rift alongside the Touch controllers later this year.

oculus rooms

Watching Hulu in Oculus Rooms.

The Rift is also wrapping in support for 8-person parties, for chatting or use in a new "Oculus Rooms" interface which allows you to hang out, watch TV, play games and more with the pals in your party. Think of it like a swankier version of PlayStation Home. Oculus also announced as a new “VR web browser” dubbed Carmel that will become available to Oculus users at some point in the future.

Stay tuned for more from Oculus Connect, all day.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags OculusVRVR

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Hayden Dingman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?