Oculus Social Alpha Lets You Explore Virtual Reality With Friends


Though it can be annoying to hear the chatter and seemingly easy-to-provoke laughter of others, it's the people that make the cinema experience an event. With that in mind, Oculus VR plans to add a social element to Oculus Cinema.

Despite Facebook asserting that its keeping its hands off Oculus, it should come as no surprise that Oculus VR wants to add a social component to its first-party app for passive media consumption.

It just makes sense. People tend to enjoy movies in the company of others and that's the point of the social update, Oculus VR Founder Palmer Luckey told Road to VR.

"It's not that you want to replicate the experience of being in a movie theater alone, you want to replicate the experience of being in a movie theater or home theater with all of your friends," said Luckey.

Over the next several months leading up to the consumer release, Oculus plans to roll out "a lot of internal social functions" for Oculus Cinema, according to Luckey.

"Things like avatar systems, being able to communicate with people over long distances... rather than just local multiplayer, but having actual long distant multiplayer as well," said Luckey.

The company will deliver more social elements in the version of Cinema that will launch with the consumer version of the Oculus Rift headset, according to Luckey. It'll contain more social elements than those being rolled out into Samsung's Gear VR.

News of the fleshing of the Oculus Rift's foundation comes as Sony's PlayStation VR emerges from Paris Games Week looking like a serious challenger compared to what was once considered Oculus' for the taking. Still, analysts are expecting a big year for Oculus when the VR headset finally launches in 2016.

Though Facebook and Oculus VR have yet to announce pricing for the Rift, analysts at Credit Suisse project the companies will ship about 5 million of the headsets. That's based on the headset starting at an estimated $350 a pop.

"We expect Facebook to price the headsets at cost in an attempt to drive initial consumer adoption — with the expectation that the company plans to monetize the devices overtime via associated software revenue," states Credit Suisse

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