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vTime, the social network for VR, now lets you hang out in your photographs

There’s a new social network in town, and this one brings you closer to your friends than ever. Introducing vTime, the first virtual-reality social network from Starship, which has now launched on Oculus Rift, and will allow you to hang out with your friends in an artificial environment. Users are also able to socialize with friends and families within their own photos — just upload a memory in photographic form and experience it with the entire group.

Updated on 6-12-2016: vTime adds early access support for Oculus Rift

In the last several months, the VR social network has launched a number of updates, from allowing users to hang out in their own photos to bringing Google Cardboard users into the fold. The Oculus Rift, however, is the latest headset to join in on the fun.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Rift users into the fold, and to take advantage of the headset’s impressive specifications to deliver an even more immersive sociable network,” said vTime CEO Martin Kenwright. “We’re also looking forward to the forthcoming controller advances to make communicating in vTime even more natural.” Since its launch in December of last year, vTime has already been downloaded by hundreds of thousands of individuals across 195 countries. 

The social network itself allows users to create a bespoke and lifelike avatar, then walk right into any one of 12 “detailed virtual destinations” with one to three friends (also equipped with VR headsets, of course). Think of it as being dropped into a version of the Sims where you’re not just controlling characters from behind a computer screen, but within the play environment itself. You’ll be able to chat with other users in real-time, and thanks to vTime’s head-tracking and spatial audio, users will enjoy the “illusion of social presence.” Best of all, you can take selfies within the vTime environments. Welcome to socialization in the 21st century.

And when the network introduced its Picture Sharing function, users could do more than just walk into one of vTime’s curated virtual environments — rather, they were given the opportunity to create their own hangout spot from their favorite photographs.

“Being sociable isn’t just about chatting,” explained Kenwright. “It’s also about sharing your personal memories with others. So now, we’re letting you do just that; by giving you access to The Archive, and the freedom to upload your own images to the 360 Gallery. “

Users can upload their favorite photographs to a free personal cloud-storage area. Then, you can choose to share these photos in a 2D display via The Archive, described as “an atmospheric underground vault to showcase their pictures,” or actually have a conversation within the photograph itself by way of the 360 Gallery, which serves as something of a blank canvas ready to display 360-degree media.

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But don’t worry — even if you don’t have a VR headset, you’ll be able to get in on the vTime action. Thanks to the vTime Magic Window, individuals can join the social network and interact with other users simply by way of a smartphone and headset with a built-in microphone. But of course, if you’re looking for the full experience, VR is recommended.

Starship hopes to have the social network fully available to all virtual-reality HMDs by the end of the year, so regardless of whether you have a PlayStationVR, an Oculus Rift, or an HTC Vive, you can join this next-level community.

Previously updated on 05-28-2016: vTime update allows users to socialize inside photographic memories