VR Virgins : The First 3 Questions:
There are three questions that come to novice VR explorers, pretty much universally and in the same order:
1. Where is my body?
3. Where is everybody else?
The global VR Dev Community has done some solid work on solving points 1 (see Project Avatar) and 2 (see Sixense, LeapMotion, Oculus Touch, Steam Lighthouse). Point 3 is something of the Holy Grail. Arguably, its why Mark Zuckerberg chose to pay $2 billion for Oculus before they’d even shipped product.
And the key phrase is… (wait for it…):
Social VR is not new. It started with SIMNET, a Darpa Project, way back in the 1980s. It was re-invigorated to consumers as soon as the high-speed internet hit homes, starting in 1996 with a product called OnLive Traveller by Active Worlds. It came around again a few years later, arguably with the most successful iteration of the MetaVerse to date, in a world called Second Life.
These playspaces all allowed multiplayer interactions in 3d worlds, including fully positional multi-plexed audio, and some form of real time 3d approximation of the players, represented as fanciful avatars with lip-syncced facial expressions.
Today, there are several companies pioneering the next level of FULLY immersive Social VR. As of 2015, they are:
We encourage you to download their clients and explore.
And of course, be watching for signature Social VR apps from the big kid on the block, Facebook and Oculus, as they approach their consumer launch Spring 2016.