Virtual reality fans will soon be able to go into private online VR rooms, where they will be able to share and view a wide range of content with friends anywhere in the world, while talking and laughing as if they were actually in the same room.
MyVR, which bills itself as a virtual reality social platform, is scheduled to launch in late October and will allow users to invite friends into interactive private rooms so they can share movies, news and entertainment content and more using their smartphones and select VR headsets.
MyVR is in alpha testing now, but is expected to be released in Android and iOS app versions in late October, John Gonzalez, co-founder and chief product officer of MyWebRoom.com, told eWEEK. MyVR is being built by MyWebRoom, which uses a series of interactive, customizable rooms as personal hubs, where users can find, save, stream and share online content, including news articles, music and videos. MyWebRoom features 21 targeted and customizable content feeds, including travel, sports, DIY and food.
The MyVR apps are slated to be available for use with compatible Android smartphones with Google Cardboard VR devices and with the Samsung Gear VR headsets. The $99 Samsung Gear VR headset, which went on sale last fall, gives users the chance to view video games, movies and more in new, immersive ways. The Samsung Gear VR is a consumer version of virtual reality headsets made by Oculus.
With the free apps and the VR devices, users will be able to enter private online rooms with friends, share content, hold group voice chats, browse the web as a group, read articles and listen to music together, all while in a non-public "room."
"As VR is developing, we see more people will have access to VR headsets, said Gonzalez. "That's why we are focused on this product. We wanted to build something that is not a gimmick, and that is focused on people like you and me."
Users will be able to share experiences with friends as they do today, but using VR wherever they are located, he said.
That means that two friends who live on different continents will be able to enter a private VR room together to watch the same movie at the same time and still be able to talk or chat or laugh together in real time, said Gonzalez.
"VR is immersive because when you put on your headset, it blocks out everything else," he said.
Presently, the VR market is still growing but is mostly filled with games or 360-degree experiences as the leading uses of VR, he said. "It's going to take companies like ours that are looking at VR with a focus on the mass market" to help it expand to a wider swath of users.
"We are trying to get people into VR and provide them with an experience they think is valuable," said Gonzalez.
Initially, MyVR is being readied as an Android app, but an iOS app is also expected to launch in late October when the platform goes live, he said.
Users will control the content in their private rooms by using the touchpad controls of the VR headset. Participants will use buttons and controls to designate their activities. All of the apps will be free downloads.
Alpha versions of the apps will be released in early October.
The social media aspect of MyVR allows users to connect and participate with their friends, said Gonzalez. "The social component is very important. It allows people to chat, to do things together. That obviously brings the social media aspect full circle."