Oculus reveals a tantalizing glimpse at social VR's radical future

Reach out and touch somebody.

Ever since Facebook bought Oculus in 2014, we've been waiting for the other shoe to drop—the other shoe being "Social Integration," or whatever fancy term you want to apply. And today at the third annual Oculus Connect conference in San Jose we got a radical look at how that might actually manifest in the future.

In a live stage demo presented by Mark Zuckerberg himself, we saw a unified "people-first" environment that could seamlessly cycle through hanging out with friends (or at least your friends' avatars) in various VR environments, such as the bottom of the ocean or Mars itself. In various demonstrations, Zuckerberg showcased the sort of activities social VR can enable, such as playing chess, cards, and other games…

vr cards

…watching movies on oversized screens, summoned at a moment’s notice…

vr social primary

…receiving Facebook Messenger video calls from people outside VR…

vr messenger call

…taking selfies with your virtual pals, via a digital selfie stick (ugh)…

vr selfies

…and then shuffling through those selfies as if they were digital polaroids, then seamlessly posting them to—you guessed it—Facebook.

vr pictures post to facebook

Is it going anywhere? Who knows. There's still no official product announcement, no "Coming to Facebook in 2017" or anything like that. But it's a tantalizing look at a facet of virtual reality that could end up as important as—or more important than—gaming, education, and all the other extant areas of VR development.

Facebook certainly seems determined though. Before wrapping up that segment of the presentation, Zuckerberg said the company's already invested $250 million in software, and promised another $250 million to come. That's big money—a big enough push that it seems safe to say Oculus is around for the long-term.

vr avatars

And Oculus is laying the groundwork to make Zuckerberg’s dream a (virtual) reality, announcing new Oculus Avatars (pictured above) that will launch on the Rift alongside the Touch controllers later this year.

oculus rooms

Watching Hulu in Oculus Rooms.

The Rift is also wrapping in support for 8-person parties, for chatting or use in a new "Oculus Rooms" interface which allows you to hang out, watch TV, play games and more with the pals in your party. Think of it like a swankier version of PlayStation Home. Oculus also announced as a new “VR web browser” dubbed Carmel that will become available to Oculus users at some point in the future.

Stay tuned for more from Oculus Connect, all day.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags OculusVRVR

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Hayden Dingman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?