In many ways, we have already seen what a future with VR looks like. The media and entertainment industry has done justice to the vision of a VR empowered Future. Be it the horrible lethargic future shown in Pixar’s Wall-E or the opulent one shown in Netflix’s Altered Carbon. We are moving towards a future that will unveil innovative and weird social structures, impacting every industry.

We talk about a future where all social Media Interaction will be relegated to a virtual world. Most jobs relying on manual labour will be turned over to machines, but that’s a different matter altogether. Although VR will surely help in that sector, we are here to focus on VR’s impact on the future.Timeline of Social VR: The Weird and Powerful

Timeline of Social VR: The Weird and Powerful
AltspaceVR

Altspace VR existed long before Mark Zuckerberg showed us Virtual Reality avatars playing Cards in real time. That happened in 2017. Altspace VR has been around since 2013. Since then, Altspace VR has changed the dynamics of social interaction.

In order to show what you are signing up for, we have shared a link to a YouTube Video created by Oculus, displaying the bizarre world of AltspaceVR. It isn’t difficult to notice that the Avatars have little to no resemblance to real people. The display takes us back to a time when animators had just discovered the wonders of 3D characters. To be honest, VR is still in infancy, so there isn’t a lot the digital creators and designers can do about it. While some people would rather spend time in SimCity, a majority of VR enthusiasts will continue to discover the wonders of AltspaceVR, marveling at its accomplishments.

Image Credit: Youtube Video from Oculus.

Despite being an early adopter of the technology, AltspaceVR continues to flourish. With so much research and experience behind it, AltspaceVR might be the first one to cross the divide between reality and virtual space.

To summarize it, AltspaceVR has come a long way. The avatars get better with time. Let’s not forget that AltspaceVR offers users a VR platform to create events and to attend VR classes, have meetings, and live shows. Checkout the events on the AltspaceVR.

RecRoom

3 years after the launch of AltspaceVR, the VR community welcomed Rec Room in 2016. It is an app that focuses on entertainment. It took its cue from AltspaceVR, refining its VR space with exceptional care.

Rec Room makes everything more polished, the interface, the avatars, environments, and the games. Compared to AltspaceVR, Rec Room has received better reception from users. One factor for which includes Rec Rooms’s superior functionality.

Rec Room, a VR platform dedicated to gaming, also allows all its users to be creators. They can use tools such as the Maker Pen to draw objects in their VR space. At present, we have these animated 3D avatars. In a decade, we might step into the VR world as ourselves. That’s a weird social future we have to look forward to.

VRchat

VRChat is much more intimate that the two VR platforms we have seen so far. AltspaceVR has been about events and classes and Rec Room about gameplay. VRChat is an actual social platform that allows people to create their own avatars and interact in many environments.

It came into the picture in 2017, a year after the launch of Rec Room. All three VR platforms we have seen so far are free to download and use. So, there is no need to pick. You can just download and experience them for yourselves.

The pandemic has made us all retreat into cement cells, teaching us all the importance of a virtual space. Allowing us to connect better despite the distance setting us apart. VRChat has reportedly helped a lot of its users overcome anxiety. Although it isn’t a game centric VR platform, it still has some games such as capture the flag and Battle discs.

Image Credit: VRChat Official Video

Facebook Horizons:

Facebook Horizons, launched in August 2021, is the newest addition to the VR social platforms. As one of the world’s leading social media networks, Facebook already knows the ins and outs of a social platform.

It has applied its signature strategies to its newest additions, Horizons, the Social VR platform. In some ways, it will seem familiar to our social networks, but in others, it offers a high level of interactions.

With Virtual space, you aren’t just staring at someone’s picture or blank space as you chat with them. You get to interact with avatars. These avatars are a representation of you in this highly reliable and customizable Virtual Space.

It doesn’t have the quality of Rec Room or VR Chat, but it allows you to explore more spaces, meet new people.

Image Credit: Facebook Official Video

Facebook Horizons also allows users to create and contribute to their environment, making it a part of Horizon.

Social VR: Fast Forward 10 Years

One of the brightest minds in the world, Tim Sweeney, the founder of Epic Games, gave a demonstration at the Steam Dev Days, the company’s conference. He has predicted that we are only 10 years away from a VR World with Realistic Avatars.

Free Guy, a movie launched in 2021, features realistic virtual avatars and non-playing characters as well. Although the players don’t use a VR headset, Ryan Reynolds’ character in the game gets some flashy VR goggles. They are quite like Marvel’s Tony Stark’s VR goggles. Right now, only select users have computers or devices that can handle Virtual Platforms with realistic characters. We have seen how difficult it is to create VFX animated sequences, and right now, it takes millions of dollars to see those realistic characters on screen. Free guy’s budget was 100-125 million USD. So, not only do we need better technology for creating avatars, we are going to have to find more sustainable and affordable methods in the future. In a decade, we might just be able to solve all these issues. It will pave the way for the weird social VR platforms that will probably become the new normal.

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