Alcove VR is a different kind of social VR platform. According to their website:
Alcove is a virtual reality app connecting family members across generations by bringing them together inside a virtual world filled with immersive experiences.
When you can’t physically be in the same room, or even on the same continent, meet your loved ones in Alcove’s virtual living room to create new memories as you journey around the globe, watch videos that surround you and play cognitive games together.
The company explains why they are focusing on this particular niche:
Social isolation is an increasing health concern. Studies have found that isolation and loneliness are worse for health than obesity or smoking, especially if you’re over 50. The health risks of prolonged isolation are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Alcove was built with this in mind. We are driven to knock down the barriers created by social isolation or physical limitations, and open new doors to those affected … and we’re doing it with fun and engaging VR. Alcove bridges the physical distance between family members and empowers people to experience new places and things they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do because of cost, time or mobility constraints.
You can download a beta version of Alcove VR from the Oculus Store for the Oculus Go VR headset (there don’t appear to be versions for the Oculus Quest or the Oculus Rift yet). Alcove VR is available through Oculus’ Early Access program, and the cost is free. (It is not available on Steam.)
Alcove VR has partnered with the AARP, the American seniors’ interest group, and includes experiences created and curated by AARP Innovation Labs. They are actively looking for partnerships with other startups and content creators.
And they are running a VR Design Challenge Contest:
Games for Change is proud to announce plans with AARP Innovation Labs (also known as The Hatchery) to create a VR Design Challenge. This would be the first VR Challenge for Games for Change who has previously run Games Design Challenges on issues like climate change and immigration. The Hatchery is an innovation accelerator that works with start-ups and investors to discover big ideas and bring them to scale to change how people live as they age.
Through the VR for Change Alcove Challenge, AARP Innovation Labs and Games for Change will aim to inspire more people to think about how VR games can enhance the quality of life as we age, and enable people across all ages to experience simple, beautiful, and impactful VR. The challenge will invite developers to submit a digital game that can have health or wellness benefits for older users. Select winners and finalists may have the opportunity to have their game published on the Alcove platform.
If you are interested, more details on the VR Design Challenge are available here, along with a form to enter the contest.
You can follow Alcove VR on social media via Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And, of course, I have added it to my ever-growing list of social VR/virtual worlds.