I was in a house of a friend in VR and I loved it

I did it again. I went to a social VR app and had fun with it.

Yesterday morning I’ve been contacted by my virtual friend Sasha that had some spare time before going to sleep. Yup, I had just begun to work and he was going to sleep… time zones always fascinate me.

I’ve already met him in VR inside BigScreen VR and VR Chat, so I proposed him to try together the new SteamVR Home Beta. He was excited and so we jumped together into the metaverse.

Landscape of the place where we met

In a matter of minutes I was inside his virtual house on a virtual mountain and I found him playing around with a strange laser ray. I greeted him and started throwing books and other objects with him… I hate houses that are too tidy! He greeted me with a super-energic voice and I felt immediately happy of seeing my friend again. He was a giant blue cartoon sphere with two hands, so looked different than on Skype, but he was there, right in front of me.

We started toying around together with objects of the house and then we began to talk, talk a lot about life, about VR applications and the simulation theory, according to which all our lives are just simulations (we’re all in a giant VR game). Then he made me laugh talking about some funny experiences he had with social VR applications. Time flied by really fast, as when on saturday night I’m at the pub talking about women and soccer with my best friend.

SteamVR Home is better when you are with someone else and the thing that I appreciated the most has been the fact that you feel like you’re going into the house of someone. That one is his “home” of SteamVR, his virtual place… and he has invited me there. And I messed up with his objects… my mother would have killed me for the virtual mess that I created.

My beautiful avatar… notice how classy I am with the flower on my non-shirt…

We’re just at the beginning of social VR, of course, so there are still lots of problems. SteamVR houses are too simple and still not that personal… most SteamVR houses are all similar now and have all similar setups and objects. Some things are not shared: Sasha wanted to show me his SteamVR gaming collection but I couldn’t see it (for privacy reasons I guess). This was sad, since it was like when at a friend’s house he tries to shows me his giant book library or his big collection of records… doing it in VR could have been amazing.

And avatars well… in SteamVR are not that great. No full body, only hands and heads (VR Chat is better in this). No real characters, only cartoon ones. And of course no pupil-tracking (we’re all waiting Tobii to make its job), so eyes are fixed. Due to these avateering issues, I felt like I was in an acid trip and I was speaking with a talking blue toy. It was super weird.

But it made me feel how things could be in the future: someone hosts you in his virtual house, that is as personal as his/her real counterpart. A house that represents him/her in every detail, where you can see the posters of the singers he/she likes, where you can see tidiness or not, where you can understand his/her passions. It could be as in real houses, where you host people in an elegant living room but then let only your true friends enter your personal bedroom. And there you talk, you play, you say stupid things. Even if for you is daytime and for you friend that is at the other part of the world is night.

I always thought SocialVR as something that could happen in public virtual places, but before yesterday never intended it as a possible intimate experience. Yesterday I had this feeling, the feeling of a deep connection with a person in a private and personal place.

Seen from the eyes of the other people inside the office, I looked like an idiot moving my hands in the air and speaking with no one. But from my eyes, I was living a moment of happiness with a friend and I was delighted. These are the moments when I truly love VR.

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