×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Oculus Venues App Brings Social Co-Viewing of MLB Games, Live Concerts to Oculus Go, Gear VR Headsets

Looking to make virtual reality (VR) more social, Facebook launched a new app called Oculus Venues Wednesday that allows headset users to watch concerts, sports games and other live events together.

Some of the events available on Oculus Venues in the coming weeks include a Vance Joy concert this Wednesday night, a weekly MLB game starting with the San Francisco Giants vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 6, LA’s weekly “School Night” concert series, a weekly gig at the Gotham Comedy Club and a number of movie showings courtesy of Lionsgate, with titles including “Reservoir Dogs,” “Apocalyspe Now” and “National Lampoon’s Van Wilder.”

Oculus recently demonstrated Venues to a group of a few dozen journalists, inviting them to join the company in virtual reality for a faux live viewing of a basketball game. Participants had to create an Oculus avatars first, and were then transported directly into what can best be described as the dedicated VR seating section of a sports arena, with direct view of the action.

There, one could watch the game surrounded by roughly 30-40 avatars, and talk to them via voice chat. Just in real life, participants could overhear the conversations of their seat neighbors. You could also easily change your seat, and there were some controls to adjust the audio of both the game and the VR crowd.

Oculus Venues does require a Facebook account, and by default shares some basic interests with other users. However, the app doesn’t share any real names with users until after they have befriended each other on Oculus. Users who find the social experience too distracting can opt to ditch their friends at any point, and continue to view the event from a private, single-person VR suite.

Before entering an event, Oculus is instructing users to abide by their terms of conduct to prevent harassment. The company also makes it possible for anyone to report other users, complete with a short video clip of the harasser. However, the reporting functionality takes you out of the actual Venues app, which means that users could potentially have to choose between enduring harassment, and missing a part of the game.

Facebook first unveiled Oculus Venues at its f8 developer conference in April as part of a line-up of social apps that also included Oculus Rooms, a personal living room app where users can meet up with friends and play board games together, as well as Oculus TV, a still-unreleased social TV viewing experience.

The goal of all of these apps clearly is to make VR more attractive by making it about communication and social interaction as much as about gaming and other content consumption. Whether that works will depend in part on the content line-up Facebook can secure for Venues — and the company clearly got big plans for live events: In addition to the aforementioned games and concerts, Facebook also plans to add NBA League Pass games, additional live concerts and still-unannounced Showtime content to venues in the coming months.

 

More Digital

  • Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his Night

    ‘How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, DreamWorks Animation claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.” Ads placed for the fantasy film had an estimated media value [...]

  • ‘Tomorrow and Thereafter,’ ‘Diane Has the

    MyFrenchFilmFestival Prizes ‘Tomorrow and Thereafter,’ ‘Diane Has the Right Shape’

    Actress-director Noémie Lvovsky’s “Tomorrow And Thereafter,” a heartfelt homage to the director’s own mother, and Fabien Gorgeart’s “Diane Has the Right Shape,” about one woman’s surrogate motherhood, both won big at the 2019 UniFrance MyFrenchFilmFestival which skewed female in its winners and viewership, making particularly notable inroads into South East Asia and Latin America. Opening [...]

  • soundcloud-logo

    SoundCloud Launches Tool to Distribute Music to Other Streaming Services

    SoundCloud today announced a new distribution tool that enables artists to distribute their music to other streaming services. The feature, currently in open beta the service’s Pro and Pro Unlimited platforms, means that artists can upload their music to SoundCloud competitors including Apple Music, Amazon Music, Spotify and Instagram. “Creators using the SoundCloud Premier distribution feature keep [...]

  • Alison Meyer - Whistle

    Whistle Taps Refinery29's Alison Meyer as VP of Marketing

    Whistle has hired Alison Meyer, previously with female-focused Refinery29, to head up brand-marketing solutions for the male-centric digital media player. As VP of marketing at New York-based Whistle, Meyer will lead partnership marketing for the company’s slate of original programming and branded content. She reports to Whistle president and COO Michael Cohen. Meyer’s appointment comes on [...]

  • Snapchat - NHL Highlights

    Snapchat Expands NHL Pact to Add Hockey Highlights, Curated Stories

    Snapchat is adding more action from the ice under a new multiyear deal with the National Hockey League. The NHL, in association with Disney Streaming Services, is delivering a new weekly highlights show on Snapchat recapping the top 10 plays of the previous week and will produce Curated Our Stories on the platform for select games [...]

  • Hulu Adds Another Interactive Ad: This

    Hulu Adds Another Interactive Ad: This One Lets You Get Offers Via Email

    Hulu lets its subscribers choose the show they want to see. Now the video-streaming service is increasingly letting users choose to respond to certain commercials right away. A commercial from Sleep Number, the manufacturer of the bed with an adjustable mattress, that has run on Hulu for the past several weeks allows viewers to request [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content