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What happens when you host karaoke nights in virtual reality? A whole lot of this

Oculus Social App Karaoke Night - Gear VR
Everyone loves karaoke. Everyone loves VR. But does everyone love VR karaoke? Our friends at VRScout recently decided to find out.

The collective set out to create their own form of entertainment with what little resources they were provided by hosting not one but two karaoke nights. Here’s what VRScout’s Denis Nafarrete had to say about the digitized outing:

“Late last year Oculus released the Social Alpha app for Samsung Gear VR that lets users watch Twitch or Vimeo together in a virtual reality chat room. So we thought, why not Twitch Karaoke videos and make a whole night out of it?”

“With some creative workarounds, we actually did it! There was some terrible singing just like in real life, but we recorded in headset footage so you can actually see what a karaoke night looks like in VR.”

Here’s the backstory: Last October, Facebook stealthily released its first Oculus Store app centered around social networking. Dubbed Oculus Social Alpha, the app was designed so that up to five people, all in different locations, could virtually watch videos on Twitch and Vimeo together in a 3D space. Oculus Social Alpha gave each person the chance to represent themself with one of 27 different avatars — along with the opportunity to cherish the company of their friends without being in the same room. It introduced the possibility of online co-op for watching TV.

It soon became obvious that the experience wasn’t limited to consuming video content with friends. Instead, participants began to discover that Oculus Social Alpha was also a convenient way to endlessly chat with friends, or even more bizarre, random strangers from around the globe. It was yet another example of an application being used for something different than what it was intended.

Unfortunately, there always had to be something presented on the screen. Whether it was a Let’s Play or a student film, some Twitch or Vimeo-based content had to be displayed. As you might expect, this got old after awhile. The same videos repeated, and Twitch streams aren’t exactly the most enticing form of art.

That brings us back to the present, and VR Scout. So what’s it like? The result is — well, about as bad as you’d expect. Nonetheless, it’s a fun take on an app that could clearly use some reconstruction in the way it handles user control.

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