Rec Room is working on support for body tracking on SteamVR, and hand tracking on Quest.
Rec Room’s avatars are currently legless. Support for body tracking on SteamVR, such as strapping on 3 or more Vive Trackers, should arrive alongside or soon after the full-body avatars update, slated for later this year.
Full body avatars will be optional, and available regardless of whether you have body tracking equipment. Here’s how Rec Room describes how the system will handle users without body tracking, and the transition between standing and thumbstick movement for those with it:
In VR we don’t actually know where your legs and feet are located so we have to rely on an artist’s interpretation – since we do know where your head and hands are, we try to pose your avatar to respect your real VR pose.
However, if you’re using full-body tracking then we’ll know where your legs and feet are – so we can dynamically switch between using avatar animations and VR tracking information to pose your lower body depending on the situation.
While you’re running around we’ll continue to play animations on your legs – despite the fact your real legs aren’t actually moving – so that you appear to be running to other players in Rec Room. Once you stop walking in-game we’ll blend back to showing your real leg positions so that you can dance and pose however you like.
Body tracking is already supported in VRChat on SteamVR, while avatars in Bigscreen and Meta’s Horizon don’t have legs. Meta plans to add legs to its avatars some time this year, but they will be estimated by machine learning rather than driven by body tracking hardware.
Rec Room says its controller-free hand tracking will take “a little longer” than body tracking, suggesting it should ship late this year at the earliest.
Meta’s hand tracking tech was first released for the original Oculus Quest in late 2019, but is only now starting to be supported by social VR platforms. VRChat added support for it last year, and Bigscreen plans to support it later this year. Meta’s own Horizon Worlds doesn’t support hand tracking, but Horizon Home and Horizon Workrooms do.
The company shared some concept art of the new avatar hands driven by hand tracking, embedded below.
Rec Room, the popular social VR platform, is putting on its first in-game music festival this weekend, suitably dubbed ‘Rec Rocks’.
The immersive concert experience is set to take place this weekend, March 11th & 12th, and feature headliners Tokyo Machine (EDM) and pianist/singer/songwriter Ethan Bortnick.
Check out the full list of artists below:
Tokyo Machine – EDM
Ethan Bortnick – Alt-Pop
Haven – Pop
Charlie Curtis Beard -Rap
Suzy Shinn – Rock
The Royal Foundry – Alt
Akintoye – Rap
Clinton Kane – Pop
Rec Room says its free two-day music festival will let you explore virtual stages set in the environment of an open canyon, with Tokyo Machine kicking things off on the mainstage on March 11th with his electrifying beat, which will also include some new tracks too.
“The first time I played Rec Room 6 years ago I was blown away by how immersive the games like laser tag and ping-pong could be”, said Tokyo Machine. “I’m super pumped to be a part of Rec Rocks and will be premiering a whole set of unreleased songs with a performance that will be unlike what my fans have seen before!”
Ethan Bortnick will take the main stage on March 12th where he will perform fan-favorite tracks. Bortnick previously hosted an in-game prom for the Rec Room community last spring after he missed out on his in-real-life prom due to COVID-19.
“Rec Room will be the first stop on my 2023 tour,” said Bortnick. “As the technology in Rec Room continues to advance, that allows for even more elaborate lighting, staging and the entire set is crazier and showcases everything I can’t do in a real live setting”, Bortnick said.
The free music festival is set to include exclusive artist merch, and Community Creator Booths where festival-goers can buy in-game inventions and merch from the creator community.
Check out the full schedule of the music festival here to see when performances are set to kick off. To attend Rec Rocks, make sure to download and setup your Rec Room account across your chosen device, which includes iOS, Android, Steam (flstacreen), SteamVR headsets, Meta Quest, Meta PC VR, PlayStation 4/5, PSVR, and Xbox.
Rec Room, the social VR platform, just pushed out an update that lets its Plus members create custom shirts for the first time, allowing you to draw mostly anything with the stroke of a virtual pen and apply the graphic to a t-shirt. The studio says users will also be able to sell those shirts on the marketplace at some point in the future.
In comparison to VRChat, Rec Room offers a decidedly more limited way of customizing avatars since it relies on in-platform tools. Although Rec Room does offer full-body avatar suits now, it’s a far cry from the sort of customization that standard 3D modeling tools allow. Still, the studio is making steps to let their millions of users express themselves in a way that conforms to guidelines. After all, Rec Room is one of the few social platforms with dedicated junior accounts (under 13) that are both COPPA compliant and kidSAFE certified.
Now the studio released a tutorial video on how Plus members can create custom shirts. Here’s a quick explainer, which shows how users can draw and apply the graphic to both the front and back of a shirt:
As you’d imagine, there’s also an explicit warning against inappropriate shirt designs that would breach the platform’s code of conduct. As far as t-shirts go, Rec Room prohibits designs that include stuff that features sexist, racist, discriminatory or harassing language, symbols, or behavior. Like all of its user-created content, it’s relying on the game’s player base to self-police and report content that breaks guidelines.
Making custom shirts is only open to paid ‘Plus’ members, an optional membership program that costs $8 per month. Plus includes a few notable perks beyond free accounts, such as 100 saved outfit slots, token drops each month, discounts on store items, and the ability to earn tokens by selling things like room keys to minigames or digital items such as gadgets. Some members can even sell those items and convert their in-game tokens into real cash—a strong incentive to keep the fresh content flowing from third-party creators.
And there’s no shortage of ready customers either, as Rec Room’s player base has recently grown to 3 million monthly active VR users. That figure is actually a “pretty low percentage” of overall active players, the studio says, as most users access the game through traditional gaming platforms like iOS, Android, PlayStation, and Xbox.
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Rec Room is currently running an art contest, the theme of which is ‘sports’. This includes the new Custom Shirts category. To learn more, check out the art contest rules and submission form to get started.
Rec Room is stepping up its efforts to tie-in with other properties with NBA-themed shirts and accessories available for all 30 teams.
Throughout the rest of the National Basketball Association 2022 post-season fans can add to their Rec Room avatars shirts and accessories from any pro team. Rec Room also has some NBA-themed spaces and activities added to the cross-platform multiplayer service.
A new NBA Experience is part of Rec Room’s lobby throughout the 2022 post-season where players can show off trick shots.
Rec Room is in a race against Meta and Roblox for mindshare among creators who can build cross-platform worlds with built-in tools. Rec Room recently shared that they have roughly 3 million monthly VR active users, mostly on Quest 2, while Meta’s Horizon Worlds recently partnered for a similar avatar program with the NFL during the Super Bowl and recently turned on payment tools for some creators in a limited test. Meta is also planning to build a version of its service that can run directly on the Web while Rec Room is already available on Android, iOS, PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox, PC via Steam, and Oculus Quest.
Will you be purchasing NBA-themed accessories for your avatar in Rec Room? Let us know in the comments below.
Throughout the course of our lives, we project who we are in various different ways — from our taste in music, movies, fashion, video games, personal possessions and of course, the spaces in which we inhabit. Our personal environments — whether they’re our studio flats, our dorm rooms or our penthouse mansions — play a part in defining our everyday identities. Even the smallest details, artefacts or shreds of information can say a lot about who we are at a particular point in time. Research has even suggested that details as minuscule as our email addresses or our online usernames can reflect some of our personality traits.
In the last 6 months, I’ve had an interesting relationship with spaces. After making the decision to move overseas at the tail end of a global pandemic, I left my long-time apartment in the Trinity Bellwoods neighbourhood of Toronto, Canada and ventured across the pond to London for a new adventure.
Others who have taken a similar path will know that moving internationally means paring down which items you can bring with you (unless you’re willing to pay exorbitant luggage fees). Several years’ worth of collected art, posters, figurines, gaming consoles, electronics and furniture items were forced into storage and left behind. Now, with only two suitcases full of essentials and small allowances, my new space in London feels a tad barren and, well… not quite like mine just yet.
By contrast, decorating virtual spaces inside metaverse platforms such as Spatial, Rec Room and Decentraland has been a new, fun take on the art of space-building — all while defying the limits (and costs) of physical parameters. This mini-experience has also brought a good question to light: will we one day attach our custom environments in the metaverse to our personal identities? Better yet, will our personal spaces be akin to what we currently know as our online profiles, taking the place of things like custom cover photos or layouts?
All answers are already pointing towards ‘yes’ — but first, let’s review some ins and outs of personalising an online space in the metaverse, what that currently looks like and which processes are needed for users to establish ownership of said spaces and the assets that can be featured within them. Also, let me place a disclaimer here: I’m by all means no digital architect, but this was still a fun experiment.
Building custom rooms in Spatial
As part of our quest for a better meeting alternative to Horizon Workrooms, I started using Spatial with two of my colleagues. For the most part, it’s been a success so far — we’ve explored ways to import images and PDFs of our company branding, collaboratively write on shared boards or sticky notes and seamlessly communicate through the built-in party chat feature.
We were also able to bring more 3D images into the space using Spatial’s ‘search’ feature, located on the main menu at the bottom of the screen. Spatial boasts a decent repository of 3D models — ranging from cute cats to Master Swords to blocky renderings of Final Fantasy VII’s much-loved protagonist.
One day, after one of our virtual meetings, I perused the various space-building options that appeared on the app’s start-up screen. The first space I decided to explore was the one that Spatial had titled “Coral’s Home”. Here, I was able to decorate my own custom room (which effectively looked like a cubicle surrounded by a proto-version of Lake Hylia) with any of the built-in models and featured items.
Better yet, I was even able to connect to Spatial using my crypto wallet and import my NFTs into the space. All it took was a few clicks and before I knew it, one of my digital assets appeared — framed and all — as if it were mounted onto my space’s wall. Given that these are early days in Web3, I felt like this was a perfect and seamless example of the interoperability we want and need to see in future applications.
However, as a shameless lover of hygge and IKEA catalogues, I eventually decided to build a new space using the “Mountain Lodge” template. I was able to upload images of some of my most-loved pieces of artwork — including works from sci-fi legend Syd Mead, East London duo Gilbert and George and one of my all-time favourites, The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch. Image size wasn’t an issue, either — I enlarged the triptych so that it was perfectly centred and gracefully overlooking my virtual abode.
I was also able to upload transparent 2D images into my space, as well as 3D renders I was able to source. I experimented with setting a giant Gunpla model up in my space — because, why not? One of our goals is to defy physical odds in the metaverse — and these are all things I’ll never be able to cross the Atlantic with.
In all, it felt like the experience I was offered in Spatial was reasonably customisable and fun. I especially enjoyed the option to upload my own images through the platform — whether that was JPEGs, 3D models or my NFTs.
Dorm-decking in Rec Room
Alongside my colleagues, I’ve also recently dipped my toes into the popular multiplayer VR platform Rec Room. At a first glance, Rec Room looked a bit like Spatial for kids (unlike the creepy facial recognition tool used to build avatars in Spatial, my Rec Room avatar is a cute, smiley figure that’s currently sporting a green and red superhero garb).
But as far as experiences go, Rec Room is fantastic — with an incredible marketplace and creator’s ecosystem at its helm. It’s also well-supported — at the end of 2021, the platform closed a funding round of $145 million USD and is currently valued at a total of $3.5 billion.
Like Roblox, Minecraft and other world-building games, there are hundreds of games available for players to join and play collaboratively. However, what I mainly focused on this time around was the space-building function inside my dedicated “dorm room” — the in-game personal space that each user is granted as a virtual landing pad.
Users have the option to customise their dorm room, both with in-game skins and items that have been provided by other creators. All creator-supplied inventory is branded as an ‘invention’ — and as far as I’ve learned, all of it can be crafted within the game using the special Maker Pen tool. In all, various different props, materials, shapes and substances can be produced by the Maker Pen.
I’m not quite an expert in Rec Room content creation yet, so I instead opted to pick from items that were already supplied by other ‘inventors’. I didn’t want to be limited in my selection, however, so I purchased a small batch of in-game tokens and flicked through a list of dorm skins. When I landed upon the Zelda-themed dorm skin, my choice was pretty clear.
Once I was in my Zelda-themed pad, I decided to visit the ‘Store’ section in the main menu and see how I could deck out my space with some additional gear. To my delight, there were loads of other Zelda-themed items — far more than Spatial had to offer. Other Rec Room users had produced a surplus of different swords, floating fairies, posters bearing memorable quotes and other supplies.
But, my favourite function? Without question, it was the ability to not just add custom items, but also to ‘spawn’ a custom song and attach it to my space. Those (like myself) who are old enough to have experienced the MySpace era will especially appreciate this option.
Users should be mindful that despite its multi-functionality and free-to-play approach, Rec Room isn’t yet the most robust of systems. Each ‘invention’ contains a certain amount of ‘ink’ (this can be equated to its file size), which is basically synonymous with in-game bandwidth. Should too many inventions be added into one space, the system can start to lag and even crash at times. There were at least a couple of times when I had to restart the system and re-render my items.
Also, whether Rec Room will adopt Web3 technology is still yet to be seen. Currently, the game’s model enables creators to subscribe to the Rec Room Plus plan — a monthly paid membership program that enables players to earn in-game currency for selling their creations. Subscribers can cash out in-game tokens for real currency, based on a rate determined by Rec Room‘s mechanics.
Trying Decentraland’s Builder tool
Lastly, I wouldn’t be fully embracing space-building in the metaverse if I didn’t try out one of the most popular Web3 applications — Decentraland. I’d been wanting to try Decentraland’s Builder tool for some time, so I decided to see what I could explore on the growing platform.
For those who aren’t familiar, Decentraland allows users to create scenes that can be placed within virtual land parcels purchased on the Ethereum blockchain (which grants them proof of ownership). While owning virtual land isn’t required to visit or use Decentraland, it is required for users to invest, build and publish spaces on the platform so that they’re available for others to visit. Each land parcel in Decentraland is an NFT — which means that just like physical land, it is unique and cannot be forged or duplicated.
While logged into Decentraland using my crypto wallet, I ventured over to the Builder tool and began creating a scene with a small area, to start. While I wasn’t able to purchase a land parcel for my space this time around, I still decided to have some fun with the tool.
Once inside the Builder tool, users can select from a range of in-app asset packs that are categorised under different themes — such as sci-fi, fantasy, Halloween, cyberpunk and Chinese New Year. I mainly chose items from the cyberpunk pack, piecing together a small space with a glass floor, some graffitied walls and neon lights.
What I really wanted to see was how easy it would be to bring my own collectables into my space. Like Spatial‘s mechanics, it was quite simple — since I was already connected via my wallet, I had no issues with importing my NFTs into my creation. I simply had to scroll down to the bottom of the provided menu, select the ‘Collectibles’ option and voila — my NFTs were already selectable as assets.
It would be nice to see the building process in Decentraland be a little more streamlined (I give more points to Spatial here). In my experience, it was a tad tricky placing objects on top of other objects or situating signs and posters so that they looked a little more lifelike (for example, it took me multiple attempts to place a lamp on top of a tabletop before finally giving up). However, after seeing a spike in visitors after the highly popular Metaverse Fashion Week, I’m hopeful that we will see Decentraland’s Builder tool become more refined and easily accessible.
What will our spaces become in Web3?
In the last 15 years, we’ve created social identities through not just our physical spaces, but also our online profiles. MySpace, for instance, was a great example of early space-building — users were able to craft personalised profiles using custom HTML, an embedded music player, the liberty for layout overhauls and much more. Facebook may have introduced a more ubiquitous experience for non-tech savvy users, but it has still continued to provide options for personal flair. Functions like the cover photo and personal fields have remained ways for us to express ourselves through creative imagery and other identifiable information.
It’s exciting to imagine that in Web3, we will be able to bridge the concepts of both the physical and digital to create and further personalise our online hubs. Like in the ‘real world’, there will be several ways where we’ll be able to modify our spaces to support our thoughts and feelings — from adjusting the lighting, colours, items, patterns, sounds and functions within them.
As far as our current, Web2 online profiles go, however, these experiences have been limited — and this isn’t just due to their dimensions. When it comes to our profiles on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, we don’t own the spaces we customise — and we also lose full ownership of what we upload. Web3 technology, on the other hand, presents an opportunity for us to deck out our profiles with assets that are actually ours — bringing a whole new understanding to the concept of space-building and online identities.
Social app Rec Room now has over three million monthly active users in VR.
That stat was revealed by the developer’s Shawn Whiting, who also confirmed that the majority of those users are on Meta Quest 2 headsets. That’s a leap of two million users in a little over a year; back in January 2021 the company confirmed it had surpassed a million monthly active users in VR.
In February 2022, Meta confirmed that its Horizon Worlds and Venues apps had hit a combined 300,000 monthly users, though the Worlds app is currently only available in North America and Canada and only on Quest 2 and Rift headsets. Horizon Worlds is similar to Rec Room in that it’s a social space that allows users to create worlds and items together. Last month Meta even released a video of Horizon Worlds recreating paintballing, an activity already popular within Rec Room.
“We’re very happy with the VR growth but at this point VR is a pretty low percentage of our monthly players,” Whiting said in a prepared statement. “Rec Room is seeing much more growth on iOS, Android, PlayStation, and Xbox due to there being billions of those devices out there collectively.”
Rec Room began as a VR-optional app all the way back in 2016 and quickly established itself as one of the biggest social experiences for headsets. Flatscreen versions are available alongside VR support on PC and PS4 but, in 2019, the company began rolling out to non-VR platforms like iPhone and Xbox. Fans are still hoping for a Switch release, though nothing’s been confirmed at this point.
Rec Room a social VR game which also supports non-VR devices like PC, console, and mobile phones, has reached an impressive 3 million monthly active VR users, which the company says is just a fraction of its total monthly active usership.
Rec Room has continued its impressive growth, having tripled its monthly active VR user count in the last year.
Key Data Points:
Rec Room has peaked at 3 million monthly active VR users, up from 1 million monthly active VR users about a year ago
A “majority” of active VR users are using Quest 2
Active VR players represent a “pretty low percentage” of overall active players, which access the game through platforms like iOS, Android, PlayStation, and Xbox
That’s great growth for the game’s VR segment, but impressively, Whiting says it’s just a fraction of the game’s overall monthly active usership.
“We’re very happy with the VR growth but at this point VR is a pretty low percentage of our monthly players. Rec Room is seeing much more growth on iOS, Android, PlayStation, and Xbox due to there being billions of those devices out there collectively.”
Rec Room launched way back in 2016 as a PC VR-only title. Since then the company has massively expanded the platforms the game can be played on, both in the VR space and outside of it, being available on every major headset and non-VR gaming platform (except for Nintendo Switch). That’s made it a great place for VR and non-VR players alike to come together on the shared social platform which is built upon user generated content that’s incentivized by an in-game economy which allows creators to cash-out for real money.
Among VR users on Rec Room, a “majority” are using Quest 2, says Whiting.
Strapping on an Oculus Quest 2 to explore the vast game options on the Oculus store and all over the internet is thrilling, and some of them are sure to give you an adrenaline rush.
I searched around and tried several games on my new Oculus Quest 2, thanks to Maria Korolov, and came up with the following list of top VR games and experiences on the device.
1. Tea for God by Void Room
Also available on App Lab, Tea for God is a full-room scale virtual reality first-person shooter game in which you play a man heading out for revenge against God Emperor following the killing of his wife. It’s not easy as no one has left that land alive.
As a military man, you travel using rare and imaginary transport equipment to the location that’s supposedly the source of all technology. You face harsh resistance which you must overcome by shooting to reach the destination and advance to the next level.
One thing I realized is you need a lot of space to play this VR game freely. Another challenge is that you can’t play it for long because you must bend to be able to fit in narrow paths as you play. Otherwise, it will keep asking you to return to the correct orientation to continue. I think it’s a way of increasing difficulty.
Plus the weapons do not run for long before you are required to go back and recharge. But there is no motion sickness at all here no matter how long you play.
2. Gun Raiders
Gun Raiders comes installed on Oculus Quest 2 so you don’t have to download it, but it does require Internet to play. It quickly became my favorite in just a few days of exploring preloaded Oculus Quest 2 games.
I suggest you do a little initial shooting practice in solo mode before you arrive at the multiplayer hub. The multiplayer shooter game involves finding and using the best weapons to shoot and take out other players, and you earn points out of it. It has voice support so you can chat with other real players while playing. The weapon lobby has a huge selection of weapons — from basic to heavy guns — although you need to buy some with real-world money.
You can either play in solo or team mode working against other players although it is really difficult to trace them. You get ranked against other players and can see your scores in the Welcome lobby as you proceed to play. More points will also earn you weapons on sale. Also, you can modify your avatar however way you want.
Explore the real-life Anne Frank House as it was written about in the diary of a teenage Anne Frank — a German-Dutch diarist of Jewish heritage who is one of the most discussed Holocaust victims. You get a peep into her and her family’s day-to-day lives hiding from the Nazis before they were discovered and sent to concentration camps.
The experience takes you through Frank’s and her family’s harsh realities while in hiding and hoping not to be executed during the holocaust. It will even make you feel their fear of discovery and you’ll sympathize with the family’s situation, especially after Anne Frank’s death from illness inside a concentration camp.
4. Rec Room by Rec Room
Using the Rec Room app from a first-hand experience will tell you exactly why Rec Room is one of the most popular online VR social platforms, given it has 30,000-50,000 monthly active users on Steam alone. It has a lot to explore in terms of playing any kind of game in virtual reality using your own hands. It lets you connect to friends in these games, movies, and casual activities hosted in different rooms.
Unlike the VR Chat, I find Rec Room much easier to use, from the sign-up to navigation, which works great for beginners. For ardent users, there is much more to do. You can spice up an avatar by paying for in-world clothes with real-world money, or by creating your own stuff.
5. Echo VR by Ready at Dawn
Echo VR is also available on Steam, which means you can play it better by connecting the headset to your PC wirelessly through the Oculus Airlink. But it is also fantastic on the Oculus Quest headgear, first taking you through several training sessions before you can start playing games and meeting friends in the social VR platform.
The first training you go through is navigating your gravity-free floating virtual body in virtual reality, which is not as easy to do when playing the serious games hosted on the platform, as I found out, but it is interesting. Needs a little bit of experience.
On the Echo VR arena, you wear a customizable avatar then play an interesting disc scoring game competing with real people working as teams. You score and earn as many Echo points rewards as you can. The tournaments are pretty fast when competing with real people or the AI robot.
Nevertheless, I found Echo VR easy to learn how to use, especially with the audio guide robot from the time you start until you become a pro to play. But it is not easy to be a pro in the game. Given the guides, you can easily learn the game without having to wonder how it works.
6. Home After War by NowHere Media
Home After War takes you through a real-life glimpse of the aftermath of the famous Iraq war — the destruction, death, loss, fear of being attacked, and pain.
The real-life story is produced by NowHere media and makes you not only learn about the ins and outs of the Iraq war under the Islamic States and dangers of living in Fallujah after the war but also makes you deeply sympathize with the victims even though the war is over.
In the city of Fallujah, all this is evidenced in the home of Ahmaeid who does not hide his pain and tears while telling the story, having lost two sons in the war, in addition to his storied house being destroyed.
7. Pavlov Shack Beta by Vankrupt Games
Pavlov Shack is a fast-paced multiplayer shooter that lets you play with others. You need quick reflexes and aiming takes some skill. However, the game features near-realistic weapon mechanics based on videos from reviewers and the trailer. The game features four game modes, multi-crew operated tanks, community, voice chat, and radio communications.
Pavlov Shack is available through the App Lab which you must download on Oculus — and it’s a hefty 4 GB download. For that reason, I haven’t had the time yet.
Anyway, playing Pavlov Shack now doesn’t require you to sideload via SideQuest because you can download and install it directly on the Oculus Quest 2.
8. Bigscreen Beta
Bigscreen is a virtual reality social platform where can watch movies, play games, or hang out with friends inside virtual theaters. More advanced users can also take things further by creating their own content.
Bigscreen lets you watch your own content, stream movies, and other stuff on a VR big screen, from the Oculus Quest headgear or desktop. The app is a favorite for anyone who wants to convert their desktop into a big virtual reality screen, stream or use content from the desktop, and even share a desktop screen with friends online.
The best place to start is by finding content created by other users, either paid or free. Depending on where you are, it’s possible to rent VR movies on the platform and watch them alone or with friends. But that feature isn’t supported in all regions. Nevertheless, it supports over 50 channels including NFL, Fox Sports, CBS Sports, RedBull TV, and most of these stream live events including real football games from EPL or other leagues.
9. Gorilla Tag by Another Axiom
Gorilla Tag is a full room-scale experience that converts your VR avatar into a virtual gravity-defying gorilla that can explore vast spaces and play games on a virtual screen in a room. You run, jump, and climb to high or low locations with your hands — without using any teleportation or buttons.
The greatest drawback I found with this game is perhaps the motion sickness exhaustion, which you experience heavily when trying to cover vast spaces. The game is fit for a regular arm muscle workout for up to about fifteen minutes. Then you can chat and play tag with up to four players, either running away from an infected gorilla or trying to find uninfected ones to infect.
10. VRChat by VRChat
VRChat is a little bit harder to start off for beginners, requiring some signups or logins. You can log in with your existing Oculus account but must remember the date of birth used to sign up for the Facebook account.
I found it a little bit hard to start off after login because there is no guide on how to operate– and you must have space to walk while playing. Nevertheless, you should be able to find gamers, musicians, creators, artists, entertainers, and other people on the platform to either play with or explore their creations.
11. Elixir by Magnopus
Elixir delves into a virtual witch’s magical world in which, led by the witch, you manipulate magical stuff with hands and see all her little wonders. And there is a lot to play around with inside this little virtual world. The virtual reality game supports hand tracking so you do not use any controllers.
12. PokerStars VR by Lucky VR
PokerStars VR lets you play poker, blackjack, and even slots with friends, but it’s for those who understand the games already. Even with a slight grasp of poker, I found it hard to learn how to play, so beginners might have a harder time starting out. Plus I didn’t find any guides on how to. But PokerStars is extremely enjoyable because you get the natural feel of playing these games, especially with other people around the tables.
PokerStars also lets you customize your avatar from skin color, to hair, to facial looks. You can also choose other gaming assets from the shop, zoom in on all the tables available, and choose which ones to join and play. The app also lets you add friends and even use voice chat while playing with them.
13. Mission: ISS
The Mission: ISS lets you become a virtual astronaut in full 360 degrees. You’ll get a feel of how it is to work, move, and live inside the International Space Station — all in VR.
This experience lets you learn the different equipment in the space station, its surroundings on the outside, how the station works, its mission, and how astronauts run their day-to-day lives and errands inside of it. While you can move a few items inside the space station, the biggest drawback with the experience is perhaps you do not get to operate the space station in virtual reality.
14. Goliath: Playing with Reality by Anagram
Goliath: Playing With Reality guides you through the many realities of Goliath, a man who spent years isolated in psychiatric institutions. It explores the limits of reality and a true story of schizophrenia — the unending struggles with mental health and drug abuse, and how he deals with and overcomes those problems.
Under the narration of Tilda Swinton, the experience lets you understand in-depth the harsh side effects of drug abuse, makes you sympathize with the victims, and also lets you know that the problem can be cured. It is full of wonderful graphics, except that it can be hard to follow given the many controls you must learn.
15. Spatial by Spatial
Spatial is more of a virtual reality social media platform but also allows you to create or make stuff using available tools and templates. Although it’s extremely hard to find content if you just want to explore instead of creating something.
Nevertheless, once you’re in the welcome lobby, simply find and teleport to locations depending on what you would like to explore. With Spatial, you can virtually create and explore art galleries, games, events, exhibitions, and hang out together with friends. It has voice support.
Spatial also lets you host virtual events, parties, and meet-ups in private rooms which can hold up to 32 people. For creators, you can create anything in 3D, look up creations by other people and save them in the cloud.
16. VR Animation Player by Meta
VR Animation Player lets you create and explore animations using Quill tool, which was spun out from Meta. Besides that, there are a lot of existing animations, videos, games, and other content to watch on the platform. Simply click on the Browse tab and explore. It also supports channels like Bigscreen, Netflix, Facebook Watch, and Prime Video VR so you can watch or stream content from these channels. You can also download and save content for later.
17. Gravity Sketch by Gravity Sketch
Gravity Sketch lets you create, model, and design anything using basic and advanced shapes and design techniques in virtual reality. You can design all elements in any volume, surface, color, shape, and size. You can then place those models, products, and sketches in any orientation and space.
Within 10 minutes of practicing, I was able to design a representation of the solar system which means the tool is quick to learn to use. If you’ve ever used 3D design tools, then Gravity Sketch should be quick to grasp. But it brings the feel of it in the design to make the operation much more enjoyable.
18. Within by Within
Within lets you play immersive videos, games, news, and content of all kinds in full VR on your headset. Most of these are free to play. This simple app lets you search for content in categories with easy-to-find navigation and search tools. There is a lot of video content to enjoy for free on the app including AR game videos, space exploration videos, and more.
Plenty of people might want to load their virtual reality headset with content to watch offline later and this app is a good place to start with that. Instead of streaming on-demand, you can download the content on the device.
19. Traveling While Black by Felix & Paul Studios
Traveling While Black takes you back in time to the civil rights struggle in the US and how American society worked back then. You learn how African Americans survived and dealt with restrictions, hate, and discrimination from whites as they traveled throughout the United States and used facilities like hotels.
You also learn how Ben Chili Bowl restaurant in Washington DC — formerly a movie theatre — played the role of supporting and providing a conducive environment for them to survive. Produced by Oculus studios, the story takes you through real-life experiences of discrimination and survival told by real people in the United States, including the owner of Chili Bowl restaurant, Virginia Ali.
Additional cheap games to play and workout on Oculus Quest 2
Spaceteam VR, which costs $12, is a multiplayer shooting game in which the chances of survival depend on how much you shout instructions to friends.
Walkabout Mini Golf VR, which costs $14.99, lets you play golf on eight unique 18-hole courses either in solo mode or with up to five players in a room.
Golf+ costs $14.99 and lets you play golf on real-world courses with friends and hang out for a night of music and games.
Real VR Fishing costs $19.99 It lets you fish the ocean alone or with friends.
Eleven Table Tennis costs $19.99 and lets you play table tennis either against AI or real opponents online.
Thrill of the fight costs $6.99 — which you can pay by PayPal, credit card, or via the Oculus app, and requires a space of 6.5 by 6.5 feet.
Once a niche social virtual reality (VR) platform before expanding to more traditional devices like smartphones and consoles, Rec Room has today announced a new funding round and a massive valuation. Closing a new $145 million USD investment, Rec Room is now valued at $3.5 billion.
It was only back in March that Rec Room managed to raise $100 million at a valuation of $1.25 billion. That’s quite the jump in nine months seeing Coatue Management as well as existing investors Sequoia Capital, Index Ventures and Madrona Venture Group all participating in the new round of funding.
“We love the world Rec Room has created for friends to build and play together,” said Matt Mazzeo of Coatue Management in a statement. “From phones to VR, millions of players are hanging out in Rec Room, and we’re excited to partner with the team as they make the digital world more fun and immersive.”
“It’s been amazing to watch Rec Room grow from a tiny collection of mini-games into a global platform with millions of experiences built by the community. The platform has become a place where people can come together to form meaningful connections, build communities, and share their creativity,” said Rec Room co-founder and CEO Nick Fajt. “There’s still so much more we want to do, and as we head into 2022, we’re excited to build more experiences, expand to new platforms, invest in best in class trust and safety systems, and continue to expand our creator tools.”
Launched in 2016, Rec Room expanded beyond VR a couple of years later seeing 37 million people use the platform. Free to download, Rec Room saw a 450% increase in user numbers since November 2020, mainly thanks to mobile support. For continued updates, keep reading VRFocus.
Social VR platform Rec Roomhas sealed another big funding round to close out the year. The Seattle-based startup today announced it’s secured a new $145 million financing round, bringing the company’s total valuation to $3.5 billion.
The funding round was led by Coatue Management, with participation from existing investors Sequoia Capital, Index Ventures, and Madrona Venture Group.
This comes on the heels of a $100 million raise in March, which at the time pushed the company’s valuation to a stunning $1.25 billion—the first of its kind to get ‘unicorn’ status. The most recent round brings the company’s lifetime financing to $294 million, pushing it now to a $3.5 billion valuation.
First released on Steam in 2016 for both VR and flatscreen play, Rec Room has evolved a great deal over the years, taking it from social VR platform that focused solely on first-party content and minigames to something much more akin to Roblox, including a heavy focus on user-generated content—over 12 million user-generated rooms now, the company says.
Although first-party content is still a big anchor, such as its recently released ‘Rec Rally’ mini-game, users can also make real-world cash for creating cool and interesting stuff.
Things like in-game objects and mini-games underpin Rec Room’s budding economy, which kicked off this year through a creator program. Through it, trusted creators can sell in-game creations for the game’s premium token currency, which can then be converted back to fiat cash.
“It’s been amazing to watch Rec Room grow from a tiny collection of mini-games into a global platform with millions of experiences built by the community. The platform has become a place where people can come together to form meaningful connections, build communities, and share their creativity,” said Nick Fajt, Rec Room co-founder and CEO. “There’s still so much more we want to do, and as we head into 2022, we’re excited to build more experiences, expand to new platforms, invest in best in class trust and safety systems, and continue to expand our creator tools.”
Over the past years the platform has expanded a great deal in search of the widest possible audience. Rec Room, a free app, not only serves VR users on Meta Quest, PSVR, and SteamVR headsets, it also offers cross-play to traditional gaming platforms and mobile devices, such as Android, iOS, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PC via Steam, and more.