I first came across a mention of DiveReal in the Social VR subReddit community. It recently launched on Steam as part of their Early Access Program. It bills itself as “Social VR on Planet Earth”, which is an accurate description.
When you sign up, you can select from a number of pre-made avatars (which appears to be the limit to your avatar customization options):
I was rather surprised to find that DiveReal does not seem to support Oculus Touch hand controllers, so I plugged in my X-Box controller and was able to use that with my Oculus Rift VR headset.
Navigation in DiveReal reminds me of the old Blue Mars platform option where your avatar is standing within a Google Earth photosphere. Here’s a screencast of some DiveReal footage, showing an avatar moving around near the Eiffel Tower in Paris (there’s no sound):
In DiveReal, your avatar appears in a 360-degree photograph (which I assume was taken from Google Earth), and you “hop” from point to point using the A button on your X-Box controller. As you move around, you encounter a bit of a delay as the photo redraws around you. The avatar navigation feels rather clunky, and your avatar appears to be hovering on a slightly higher plane than the people in the photograph around you.
Here is my avatar in Times Square in New York City:
And here is my avatar exploring Stonehenge:
That’s pretty much all there is to DiveReal at the moment. Obviously, you’d need to organize where you are meeting up in-world ahead of time, because other avatars could be located anywhere on the planet! You will likely be a very lonely explorer (although DiveReal will tell you how far away other avatars are located):
There’s a Reddit community and a Discord server for DiveReal, but there’s really not much there yet, since this is such a new platform. It’s really a strange little program, but you just might want to give it a try.