Socialize from the comfort of your couch with Rooms 1.2 on Gear VR

oculus rooms for gear vr
Last year, in an effort to introduce even more people to social VR experiences, Oculus began to roll out support for its highly anticipated Rooms and Parties features to the Gear VR. First introduced at the Oculus Connect event earlier in 2016, Oculus Rooms and Parties were said to be coming to the Rift headset in 2017, and now, Oculus had made good on that promise.

With the first iteration of Oculus Rooms, you could join your friends in VR and watch movies (and cat videos) together from anywhere in the world. Well, anywhere with an internet connection, at least. Using a Gear VR setup, you could share spaces with friends, interact, hang out, and even stream live from VR.

“The first wave of VR was all about the magic of presence, the immersive sense of actually being inside a virtual space. The next step is to let you feel that same sense of presence with other people in VR,” said the Oculus Team.

But this week, the company has launched Rooms 1.2, which allows you to do even more with your friends and family members in virtual reality, as well as Oculus Events, which lets you organize your experiences. With Rooms 1.2, VR enthusiasts can now watch 360-degree content with a wider community. Thanks to the “collective viewing dome,” which can be found in the middle of any shared environment, you and your friends can watch 360-degree videos on Facebook together.

Also receiving an update is the search function for Oculus Rooms. Beginning this week, you can search for Facebook content using naught but your voice. With a new feature being dubbed Oculus Speech Recognition, your speech becomes your key to just about everything within Oculus.

The VR company’s parent company Facebook also had an announcement last week, noting that it’ll soon be rolling out VR Facebook Livestreaming by way of the Gear VR headset. Over the course of the next few weeks, your Gear VR software will add a “Livestream to Facebook” option, allowing you to share VR games directly over the social network.

Of course, there’s also the Parties feature, which hit the Gear VR last year. Using the new functionality, you’ll be able to make voice calls from VR, and even join each other in compatible multiplayer VR games like Dragon Front and Drop Dead.

There’s not much to the Parties functionality, aside from Rooms and a few games, but as Oculus is fond of pointing out, this is just the beginning. We’re still in the era of silent film when it comes to virtual reality, and with competition between the Rift and HTC Vive heating up, 2017 is poised to be the year of VR.

“This is just the beginning of social VR. We’ll continue building fun ways to share presence and take social interactions in VR to a whole new level,” the release from the Oculus Team reads.

Article first published in December 2016. Updated on 03-12-2017 by Lulu Chang: Added updates about Oculus Rooms, Events, and Facebook livestreaming. 

Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Gaming

Immerse yourself in a new universe with these incredible PSVR games

The PSVR has surpassed expectations and along with it comes an incredible catalog of games. There's plenty of amazing experiences to be had so we've put together a list of the best PSVR games available today.
Virtual Reality

Think virtual reality is just for games? These awesome apps will change your mind

Virtual reality isn't all about gaming. Swim with turtles, paint in 3D, and immerse yourself in some unique experiences the platform has to offer with our curated list of the best VR apps.
Gaming

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.
Virtual Reality

With 4K resolution, Pico’s latest stand-alone VR headset takes care of business

Pico Interactive, a popular VR headset manufacturer in China, is adding to its G2 line of business-focused VR headsets with the G2 4K, which is capable of rendering visuals in higher resolutions.
Gaming

HTC brings two new headsets, a VR browser, and ‘Netflix for VR’ to CES 2019

HTC Vive made several new announcements to CES 2019, including two new headsets, a new subscription service, and a new user interface that completely transforms how applications are launched.
Product Review

HTC puts eye-tracking tech in Vive Pro Eye to make next-gen VR hands-free

With the announcement of integrated eye tracking for the Vive Pro Eye, hands-free VR, less demanding high-quality experiences, and intuitive software, are all on the table.
Photography

Camera records real-life scenes to design virtual worlds using a single device

Creating virtual reality worlds may get a bit easier in 2019 -- the Axis is a camera module that records a 180-degree depth map, allowing designers to reconstruct the scene for virtual or augmented reality.
Gaming

The Vive Pro Eye uses Tobii eye-tracking technology to make VR more lifelike

HTC revealed the Vive Pro Eye with eye-tracking support at its CES 2019 press conference on January 7. We now know that Tobii will be the company responsible for integrating the technology.
Computing

Oculus’ Quest is the headset that will make me (and you) a VR believer

Without excessive wires or complicated setup, and a price point that makes sense for tech that just isn't there yet, Oculus' upcoming standalone headset, the Quest, could bring VR mainstream.
Gaming

Dive headfirst into the best experiences available now on the Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift brought back virtual reality and put a modern twist to it. Grab your Touch Controllers, put on your VR headset, and jump into the fun with some of the best Oculus Rift games available now.
Gaming

The best VR headsets at CES 2019 could bring the technology to the mainstream

While there weren't a ton of new VR headset on display at CES 2019, the ones we saw led us to believe that VR could have a real moment soon, both from a gaming and business standpoint.
Gaming

These are the coolest virtual and augmented reality gadgets from CES 2019

CES 2019 had plenty of VR and AR gadgets on display, including headsets that completely change how you experience virtual reality, and some that don't even require a PC or a phone to run.
Gaming

These shoes let me stroll through ‘Skyrim,’ and I desperately want to go back

After being funded in just two hours on Kickstarter back in October 2018, Cybershoes has earned itself a place among the coolest VR walking and running tech. At CES 2019, we got to try them out and they live up to the hype.