Nathie Looks at YARTVRA Apps: Nineteen Virtual Reality Apps for Remote Work and Education

Yes, I am still on my little one-man crusade to make the acronym YARTVRA a thing!

For those of you who are new to my blog, YARTVRA is short for Yet Another Remote Teamwork Virtual Reality App, that is, any social VR platform primarily intended for business use, to bring together people who may be working remotely into a shared virtual office space.

Nathaniël de Jong (a.k.a. Nathie) is a well-known Dutch YouTub influencer with over 558,000 subscribers, who often posts review videos of the latest and greatest VR hardware and software on his channel. A couple of days ago he decided to take a look at, yes, YARTVRA. Obviously, this market segment has received a lot of attention lately because of the global public health emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which is probably why Nathie decided to make and release this video.

Nathie actually manages to squeeze no less than 19 different platforms into this 20-minute video, which unfortunately means that he only talks about each platform in a very brief and general sort of way for about minute, before he promptly moves on to the next one.

After a while, the relentless succession of all the look-alike business-oriented YARTVRAs, in particular, tends to overwhelm rather than inform. (ENGAGE still manages to stand out from the crowd in this video, though. And Oxford Medical Simulation definitely gives me some rather creepy uncanny valley vibes.)

Oxford Medical Simulation (image taken from their website)

Nathie appears to have taken as his starting point the recent Road to VR article, 34 VR Apps for Remote Work, Education, Training, Design Review, and More, and, much like the article, he breaks the various platforms down into four groups as follows (with links to their websites, courtesy of the credits in his YouTube video, and also links to where I have written about the products previously on this blog):

Team Collaboration and Presentation Platforms
– MeetinVR https://meetinvr.net/ (which I blogged about here)
– Glue https://glue.work/ (which I blogged about here)
– Connec2 https://connec2.nl/en/ (which is new to me)
– MeetingRoom https://meetingroom.io/ (which I blogged about here)
– Dream https://dreamos.com/ (which I blogged about here)
– VSpatial https://www.vspatial.com/ (which I blogged about here)

Social VR Platforms (those which Nathie thinks could, at least theoretically, be repurposed for business use)
– AltspaceVR https://altvr.com/ (blogged here)
– Bigscreen https://www.bigscreenvr.com/ (blogged here)
– Mozilla Hubs https://hubs.mozilla.com/ (blogged here)
– Facebook Horizon (currently in closed alpha testing, and a non-business-oriented product, so I’m rather mystified as to why Nathie chose to include it in his overview; blogged about here)
– VTime XR https://vtime.net/ (blogged about here)

Education and Training Platforms
– ENGAGE https://engagevr.io/ (which I blogged about here)
– Oxford Medical Simulation https://oxfordmedicalsimulation.com/ (which I blogged about here)
– Rumii https://www.dogheadsimulations.com/rumii (which I blogged about here)
– Acadicus https://acadicus.com/ (which I blogged about here)
– Wonda VR https://www.wondavr.com/ (which I blogged about here)

Design, Creation, and Prototyping Platforms
– Sketchbox https://www.sketchbox3d.com/creation (which I have not yet covered)
– The Wild https://thewild.com/ (blogged here)
– Softspace https://www.softspace.io/ (which is also new to me)

So between Nathie’s video and the Road to VR article, I now have a whole bunch of new YARTVRA to explore! Expect more blogposts soon, to add more products to my ever-growing list of social VR platforms and virtual worlds.

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Oculus Quest Now Supports Hand Tracking

Well, the goodies keep coming for the Oculus Quest wireless VR headset! Several weeks after the launch of Oculus Link (which allows you to use your Oculus Quest as a wired VR headset with a gaming PC to run Oculus Rift apps), today Facebook announced that the Oculus Quest will now support hand tracking!

VR YouTuber Nathie had a chance to try out hand tracking at the recent OC6 conference, and he has all the details on this new feature in a new video:

The hand tracking is meant to replace the use of the Oculus Touch controllers. Apparently, you will be able to switch between using your Touch controllers and your hands using your headset. Also, it will likely be some time until your favourite app or game supports hand tracking.

But it is now clear that Oculus Quest (as opposed to the Oculus Rift) is where all the action is happening lately! It’s truly amazing to me how many surprises the Oculus engineers have been able to squeeze out of the Oculus Quest headset this year.

An Early Review of Oculus Link: Play Oculus Rift Apps on Your Oculus Quest VR Headset (And Will It Work with Sansar?)

Nathaniël de Jong (a.k.a. Nathie) is a Dutch YouTuber with half a million subscribers, who often posts review videos of the latest and greatest VR hardware and software on his channel.

Yesterday, he posted the following review of the Oculus Link software which allows Oculus Quest users to play Oculus Rift apps using a cable connected to a gaming-level computer with a good graphics card:

The review is esssentially a rave. The only complaint that Nathie has about the Oculus Quest/Oculus Link setup is that the headset is front-heavy (something which I can also attest to). However, there has been no shortage of headset modding advice posted to places like the Oculus Quest subReddit (for example, attaching a battery pack to the back of the headstrap, which not only redistributes the weight, but also lets you play for several hours longer!).

The Oculus Link software will be available in November 2019, and it will be free. You will need to purchase a USB 3.0 cable; you can buy your own, or you can wait until Oculus sells their own fibre cable for a “best in class” experience, for about US$80/CA$106.

I expect I will be among the first people to test Sansar via the Oculus Quest and Oculus Link, when it becomes available later this year. If it does work, it will truly be a game changer, allowing a potentially much larger audience for apps such as Sansar. And I’m quite sure that Linden Lab will be testing this out too, once Oculus Link is available.

But DON’T buy an Oculus Quest right now, expecting that it will automatically work with Sansar. It’s still too soon to tell; wait for me and others to test it out and report back before you buy. Better to be safe than sorry! Linden Lab is not recommending users purchase the Oculus Quest if they are planning on using it just for Sansar.

Please note that currently, the only VR headsets that Linden Lab officially supports for Sansar are the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive headsets. Some users have reported that they have been able to get Windows Mixed Reality headsets to work with Sansar, but it’s not officially supported (you can get help via the official Sansar Discord). While Linden Lab has reported some work on getting Sansar to work with the Valve Index controllers, it is also not yet officially supported.

More Livestreamers Are Starting to Visit Sansar

A key factor in the sudden popularity of VRChat was its coverage by livestreamers on Twitch and YouTube. Vassay told me about the following recent YouTube livestream by Nathie, a YouTube user who covers a variety of VR experiences:

Nathie is a Dutch VR enthusiast who has over 353,000 subscribers and over 99 million views on his YouTube channel, so he would probably be the first livestreamer with a sizeable following to cover Sansar. He says about himself:

You are an admirer of Virtual Reality? Same here! I want to show everyone the magic of VR by preaching it on YouTube. On my channel you can find Playstation VR, Oculus Rift, Touch and HTC Vive reviews and gameplay. So if you are interested and wanna see kick-ass VR stuff I would definitely take a look at my channel.

Nathie actually posted his first video about Sansar a month ago (this video has gotten 35,000 views so far):

 

Another YouTube livestreamer who is visiting Sansar is wanderlvst, who has posted a couple of videos:

 

And here’s one more by a guy named SleevedBiker:

 

Back in January, I posted about another well-done YouTube video by Rogue Shadow, who visited and reviewed Sansar. It’s good to see Sansar getting some more attention now!