…earlier this year, an update to the app meant a name change from vTime to vTime XR. That saw it become the world’s first cross-reality social experience – meaning users can meet, chat and share with others in AR, VR or 2D mode.
With VR, the app’s users stay fully-immersed inside the locations using a headset, while AR mode allows them to place a live, 360-degree model of the destination on any real-world, flat surface.
That creates a shared virtual space by using VR headsets or a smartphone, with the app allowing any users to meet – regardless of which mode they are using.
The product has been downloaded around 1 million times, with users in 190 countries across the world, and [the software] available in eight formats.
vTime XR is an example of a simple but well-done single-purpose VR platform. Its sole purpose is to allow you to connect and converse with your friends, coworkers—even complete strangers!—in groups of up to four people at a time. It has deliberately focused on that core use (conversation), adding support for new platforms over time. Because it is so easily rendered, it can be used by just about anybody: people on mobile devices, cellphone-based VR, all the way up to the Oculus Rift VR headset. (Surprisingly, it’s not available for the Oculus Quest yet.)
Congratulations to vTime XR for reaching the significant milestone of one million downloads!
The app formerly known as vTime is now called vTime XR, and (in a bit of surprising news) it now offers a so-called “augmented reality” mode. I don’t really consider it true augmented reality, since it doesn’t work with an AR headset like the Magic Leap One or the Microsoft Hololens. (It’s more like Pokémon Go, where you’re looking through your cellphone.)
vTime XR also supports a variety of VR headsets and 2D/flatscreen viewing, which the company whimsically calls “Magic Window mode”.
Here’s the new promo video:
I notice they’ve also added a lot of new hand gestures that weren’t there before. The slickly-produced video almost obscures the fact that your avatar is still locked in place in one of four seats in all of the vTime environments (in this it is similar to Facebook Spaces, in that you are limited to a maximum of four avatars in one experience).
However, as the video demonstrates, vTime XR offers you a lot of different, beautiful scenes for you to meet up with your friends (or, far more likely, other people you don’t know who happen to be using vTime XR at the same time you are).
As many of you already know, Oculus is releasing a new, standalone VR headset, the Oculus Quest, sometime this coming spring, 2019. Priced at just US$399, it is sure to be a popular option for people who are interested in VR, but who don’t want to purchase a more expensive VR headset solution like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.
If the Oculus Quest becomes very popular, those social VR platforms which can run on the Quest hardware may gain an advantage over those which require a full-blown VR headset and a higher-end computer.
I think it’s safe to assume that Facebook/Oculus properties such as Facebook Spaces and Oculus Rooms (or at least some version of them) will be available for the Oculus Quest on its launch date. Social VR platforms with simpler avatars and spaces, which already run on the Oculus Go (like AltspaceVR, Bigscreen, and vTime) will probably also be available for the Quest.
Surprisingly, Rec Room, TheWaveVR, and VRChat are notamong the social VR programs that are currently available for the Oculus Go ( I searched for them on the Oculus Go apps store and could not find any mention of them.) It remains to be seen if the companies behind those three products will release versions which will run on the more powerful Oculus Quest.
We are definitely going to get High Fidelity running on as many standalone devices as we can, and we love the Quest. VR will not find a large audience until the Quest and other devices (like the Mirage and Vive Focus) become widely available.
Talking to Oculus about the process now… stay tuned.
When asked for to provide a more recent update, Philip added:
Yes, we are working on the Quest, and hope to have High Fidelity ready to run on it for launch! Very high quality device.
I also don’t know what Sinespace’s exact plans are for the Oculus Quest, but Adan Frisby, their lead developer, said on a Facebook comment when I cross-posted this blogpost over there:
We’ll be fine with it too – anyone doing Android support will have an easier time of it.
So it looks like High Fidelity and Sinespace will indeed both be working with the Oculus Quest, if not right at launch date, then shortly thereafter. This gives them both an advantage over Linden Lab’s Sansar, which very likely will notbe able to work with the Quest. There’s still a lotof data that has to get sent to and from a VR headset to properly render Sansar experiences (especially for any experience which has global illumination enabled), which would probably completely overload any standalone headset.
As I often say: interesting times ahead! Let’s hope that the Oculus Quest makes a big splash and brings even more people into VR. A rising tide lifts all boats, and many social VR platforms would benefit from greater consumer awareness and uptake of virtual reality in general. And I promise to cover all of it as it happens on this blog!
VRChat was just announced for the Oculus Store. While it already worked with Oculus on Steam, [the] OculusSDK version of VRChat means it will almost certainly be ported to Oculus Quest when it comes out, making it the first metaverse-style game available for wireless/unteathered/portable VR.
Sadly, I don’t think VRChat’s gonna support Quest. It’s just not compatible with mobile CPUs. Hell, it brings modern up-to-date PC’s to a standstill with too many people. I very much doubt the Snapdragon 835 can handle all the custom shaders, avatars, IK, etc. The team would basically need to do a full rewrite. And that’s unlikely unless the team was way bigger.
It does sound as though VRChat would have to be pared down significantly in order to run on the Oculus Quest, if at all.
I also noticed that I have received a lot of traffic to this blogpost due to this post on the OculusQuest subReddit (which I had never heard of before today). If anybody over there has any inside information on social VR/virtual worlds that will launch with the Quest, I’d certainly love to hear about it! Thanks.
I also did not dwell on technical details, such as the underlying game engine, user creation tools, etc. Instead, I focused on the three things of most interest to consumers:
How you can access the platform;
What options do you have for your avatar;
And whether you can go shopping!
This print on this chart is a little small to show up on the constrained width of this blogpost, so I saved it as a picture to Flickr. Just click on the chart below (or the link above) to see it in Flickr in a larger size.
You can also download this chart from Flickr in any size up to its original size (1488 x 920 pixels).
If you feel I’ve made any mistakes, or left anything important out, please leave me a comment below, thanks! I do hope that people who are trying to figure out which social VR spaces to explore will find this comparison chart to be a useful and handy tool.
UPDATE 2:03 p.m.: I’ve just been informed that there is an Android app for vTime. Thanks for the tip, Stephanie Woessner!