×
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

  • Colin Kroll Dead Vine Obit

    HQ Trivia and Vine Co-Founder Colin Kroll Dies at 35

    Colin Kroll, co-founder of the Vine video app and the HQ Trivia game, was found dead in his Manhattan apartment early Sunday of an apparent drug overdose, Variety has confirmed. He was 35. New York Police Department officers responded at 12:18 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, to a call by Kroll’s girlfriend, who was concerned about [...]

  • Nick Eh 30, StoneMountain64

    CAA Signs Gaming Influencers Nick Eh 30, StoneMountain64

    CAA has signed two popular live-streaming battle royale gamers — Nicholas Amyoony, better known as Nick Eh 30, and David Steinberg, aka StoneMountain64 — for representation. CAA said it will work to create opportunities for Nick Eh 30 (above left) and StoneMountain64 (above right) in all areas, including TV, motion pictures, touring, digital distribution and [...]

  • Amazon Adds NBA League Pass to

    Amazon Adds NBA League Pass Live-Streaming Games to Prime Video Channels

    Amazon is bringing pro hoops action to Prime Video Channels: The ecommerce giant now offers NBA League Pass as part of its lineup of 150-plus subscription options for Prime members in the U.S. It’s the first U.S. live-sports subscription service on Prime Video Channels. Prime members can subscribe to NBA League Pass via Prime Video [...]

  • Fifty Shades of Grey

    International Piracy Ring Stole Over 25,000 Movie and TV Digital Files, U.S. Feds Say

    A five-member international hacking crime ring stole more than 25,000 files for Hollywood movies and TV shows and illegally offered hundreds of them for sale online, according to U.S. law enforcement officials. A federal grand jury in L.A. on Wednesday (Dec. 12) indicted five men, identified as residing in the U.K., India, Dubai and Malaysia, [...]

  • Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president

    Apple to Update iPhones in China to Avoid Sales Ban

    Apple is pushing out a software update to iPhones in China to address a recent court order obtained by Qualcomm that banned the sale of certain iPhone models in the country. The update will allow the company to continue selling its phones in China, company representatives told Reuters Friday morning. The Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court [...]

  • Kevin Reilly Variety Cover

    Kevin Reilly Named Content Chief for WarnerMedia Streaming Service

    Kevin Reilly — a veteran television exec who has led programming at NBC, FX, Fox, and most recently Turner Broadcasting — has been tapped to head content strategy for the still-nascent streaming service that WarnerMedia plans to launch next year. Reilly, who has led programming at Turner brands TNT and TBS since 2015, will serve [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content