Modern virtual reality is most often associated with gaming but as Facebook's acquisition of Oculus VR indicated a few years ago, it's also going to have huge implications as a social vehicle. If you happen to have a Samsung Gear VR, you can now get a glimpse of that future with an app called AltspaceVR.
One could think of AltspaceVR as a virtual reality version of Second Life. It allows friends, family or seemingly total strangers to congregate in the virtual world where they can casually socialize, play board games, participate in pop quiz games, take foreign language classes, tell or listen to jokes during improv night or even watch YouTube videos together.
Best yet, AltspaceVR is cross platform meaning users of the Gear VR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive can all get together at once.
AltspaceVR founder & CEO Eric Romo said their focus is creating the most natural and fulfilling communication experience possible online. The Gear VR app, he said, includes nearly all of the features of the PC experience but with the ease of use of mobile.
Samsung's Gear VR has without a doubt become the leading virtual reality device in terms of units sold. As if often the case with groundbreaking technology, price will initially be VR's one major hurdle to mainstream adoption.
The Oculus Rift, for example, will set buyers back $600 in addition to the need for relatively high-end computer hardware to power it. With the Gear VR, you can jump into virtual reality for just $100 (assuming of course that you also have one of Samsung's current flagship smartphones).