Are you looking for a way to interact with your friends in virtual reality? Perhaps your relatives live far away, or perhaps you are busy all the time and don’t have time to go out.
Virtual reality allows you to spend time with buddies in a virtual world, offering a realistic experience to those who can’t spend time with friends and family in person.
VR chat platforms allow you to strengthen connections with romantic partners, family members, and friends in a way that traditional video chat apps, like WhatsApp, do not.
Virtual reality can also allow people to reduce loneliness and social isolation, which are bad in the long run for your mental health and even physical health. It can provide an outlet for social connection without the need to leave your home.
Since you’re interacting as an avatar and don’t need to show your face as you do when video chatting, it allows people who suffer from social anxiety to feel free.
To enjoy a full virtual reality experience, you will need a VR headset. There are a few types of headsets out there, and not all apps will be compatible with all of them.
The best type of headset is one that is compatible with a PC, like the Oculus Rift. To chat on virtual reality using these headsets, you will typically need to first download a software that supports these apps, like Steam.
These are the best headsets, because they offer a very immersive experience. However, they can be expensive, so a different option is to get a mobile headset.
Mobile headsets are much simpler in nature. You may have heard of Google Cardboard, which is a cheap, basic headset that simply provides a place for you to place your phone in front of your eyes while blocking out light.
These headsets are cheap but don’t offer the best experience.
There are even standalone headsets that don’t require you to plug them into a PC or use them with a phone, like the Oculus Quest. However, you will need a mobile device to connect it to the Oculus mobile app, and having a PC will make additional apps accessible.
Finally, if you don’t have a headset of any kind, some of the following chat apps still allow you to chat in virtual reality without a headset, so it won’t be a very immersive experience.
VRChat is a virtual reality chat app that has been around since 2014. It’s available for SteamVR headsets, Oculus headsets, and Windows Mixed Reality, and you can even use it without a headset.
The full body avatars make the virtual worlds more realistic. Features like lip syncing, eye tracking, real-time blinking, hand gestures, and emojis allow you to express yourself realistically.
Use the Unity SDK to create your own customized avatar, so you can be whoever you want in this world. You can be creative and try out new avatars, allowing you to express yourself in different ways.
The 3D spatialized audio helps you immerse yourself in the virtual world.
There is so much you can do with your friends when both of you have VRChat! You can chat, draw, play games, and just chill together, like you would in real life.
There are popular games, like Capture the Flag, and games that the community created.
Furthermore, there are many awesome worlds that you can explore! Every world is a new adventure – there are hundreds of worlds created by the massive community.
You can even create your own virtual world and invite others to explore it and participate in the virtual reality you built.
VRChat is also an opportunity to make new friends. Strike up conversations and build friendships with new avatars you meet – there’s no social awkwardness in the virtual worlds of VRChat.
There are people all over the world waiting to interact with you, and there are weekly official and community events that you can partake in.
Also Read: Best VR-Ready Laptops
2. Rec Room
Rec Room is an app that allows players to create rooms for them and their friends to hang out in. As a cross-platform app, it’s available not only on VR headsets but on your mobile phone as well – all for free!
There are literally millions of games you can play on Rec Room, including fun and weird games that you would not have even thought existed. You’ll get your own unique Rec Room avatar, which you can customize to express your personality and style.
The Rec Room isn’t just for hanging out, chatting, playing games, and having fun. You can also build anything from animals to entire worlds using the easily-accessible Maker Pen.
There are plenty of classes you can join which focus on how to use the Rec Room Maker Pen to build things in virtual reality on the platform. If you have knowledge on this topic that you can share, you can create your own class to help others.
Check out the other Creative Programs on Rec Room, which include workshops and community clubs. The classes, clubs, and other creative programs generally focus on helping people become better at building in virtual reality, which is one of the best aspects of Rec Room – anyone can build anything!
Another amazing thing about Rec Room is that it is certified as safe for kids as part of the kidSAFE Seal Program. Many parents worry about allowing their young children to join virtual reality programs for safety reasons, but this one is safe.
3. vTime XR
vTime XR is a cross-platform virtual reality social app. It allows you to meet friends in virtual worlds and hang out while exploring new destinations in virtual reality.
If you love travel and exploration, but you can’t afford to leave your home due to financial or time constraints, vTime XR might be the app for you.
Start by creating your own custom avatar that looks just like you. There are thousands of customization options, from hair color to clothing to eyewear and more, that allow you to truly be yourself.
Your avatar can use virtual gestures to channel your emotions and expressions. Take virtual selfies with your friends or meet new people and make new buddies!
With next-generation 360 audio, allow yourself to become immersed in the virtual worlds you are exploring and forget about your present reality for a moment.
One of the best things about the app is that it’s not limited to those who have headsets. While it’s available for the Oculus, Oculus Quest, Oculus Go, Daydream, Windows Mixed Reality, and Samsung Gear VR, there are also standalone Android and iOS apps.
You can also use it with a simple cardboard headset from Google. However, while the app works best in augmented reality or virtual reality headset mode, you can also use the app by itself, without a headset, in Magic Window mode.
The experience won’t be exactly the same, but it allows you to connect while on the go.
Flirtual brands itself as the first virtual reality dating app. Think of Tinder, but with a virtual reality element.
Like Tinder, you can create a profile and swipe on the profiles of others. The profiles contain avatars and indicate your interests, so you can find someone you like with shared interests.
Since the profiles contain avatars and not actual photos, the app allows you to connect with people based on personality instead of just physical looks. Only after you’ve established that connection do you have to reveal your face or go on a video chat.
You can message people and establish connections.
One of the coolest features is the ability to meet in virtual reality! You can go on dates without ever leaving your home on platforms like VRChat, Horizon, and Zenith.
Flirtual integrates with VRChat, SteamVR, and Oculus/Meta. If you have an avatar on any of those platforms, you can integrate your avatar from there.
Then, write a bio, share your interests, and select your favorite VR games that you would like to play with people you match with on the platform.
The app is available on Android, iOS, Microsoft, and SideQuest.
5. Chat VR Fun
Chat VR Fun is a cute little iOS app that allows you to navigate through a virtual world with an emoji-face avatar.
You can meet people from all over the world and talk to them about anything.
Using emojis, you can express emotions like anger, joy, sadness, and love. You can also dance with other players.
Horizon Worlds is an app by Meta (the company that owns Facebook) that allows users to create and explore virtual worlds as part of the Metaverse. Content creators can use the code blocks, animation effects, and other tools to build VR experiences for others to enjoy.
The code blocks allow you to define automated events that occur in virtual reality. You’ll also be able to customize the sound in your virtual world and build objects that behave like they would in real life, allowing you to define gravity, friction, and other aspects of physics.
In Horizon Worlds, you can join venues and events, including virtual concerts by world-famous musicians. Since anyone can create content for their friends, team members, or students, there is a limitless number of possibilities in Horizon Worlds.
From performances by Post Malone and Billie Eilish to comedy shows to UFC fights, there is a ton to do and watch in Horizon Worlds. You can browse all the top events on this page.
Since Horizon Worlds provides tools like code blocks for creating virtual reality spaces, you don’t need to be an expert coder to build worlds, although some coding knowledge is required. Check out the Learn page for information on how to use code blocks, Gizmos, and other building blocks.
Horizon Worlds is a free platform, but you will need an Oculus Quest 2 to access it. There are thousands of worlds and games already on it, and that number is only expected to grow.
AltspaceVR is a virtual reality platform for hosting and attending events. You can browse many of the available events on the platform, including:
- Tarot card readings
- Meditation events
- And more
Teachers, brands, businesses, and artists can create their own events and worlds. A world is a virtual space that can be anything from a meeting room to a training center to a remote mountain range.
You can set up multiple worlds and join them under a single universe, with each world inheriting the universal universe settings. The type of world you’ll build will depend on your event – if you’re hosting a training webinar, create a training center.
Alternatively, you can use one of the premade event space templates to build your world. That way, you won’t have to start from scratch.
You can save your space for future events and customize them by adding decorations, branding, and 3D objects.
It’s accessible to anyone with HTC Vive, Oculus, and Windows Mixed Reality and is currently owned by Microsoft.
Bigscreen is a platform where you can hang out with other people in virtual reality, play PC games together, watch movies, and more! Whether you want to collaborate on a presentation with your workmates or prefer to chill around a virtual campfire with your old buddies, Bigscreen has it all.
With desktop sharing, you can easily play multiplayer games together with your friends, even if you have an old-school game.
With more than 20 environments to hang out in, you can do everything from coding with your friends to creating music. The graphics and 3D quality of those environments and hangout spaces are truly to be admired.
The platform is all about connecting with others, which is why it offers many opportunities to do just that. You can customize your avatar to accurately express yourself and your personality, and you can talk to your friends as if you were there in real life with the spatial voice chat.
If you want to meet a few friends or family members privately, choose one of the private meeting rooms instead of meeting in a public room.
Bigscreen also offers plenty of solo fun. You can rent movies or upload your own video files to watch them in one of the virtual reality cinemas.
The platform is available to owners of headsets like the Oculus Quest, HTC Vive, and Valve Index. It is also available on Windows Mixed Reality.
9. Alcove VR
While there are many virtual reality platforms for hanging out with friends, there aren’t as many designed for families. Alcove VR is a family-oriented virtual reality platform that allows you to connect and catch up with family members when you can’t be with them physically in the same place.
Whether you want to chill on the couch in your virtual home or take a cross-country trip, there are plenty of ways to spend quality time with your siblings, children, cousins, and other family members. You can play board games, like checkers, or you can hop into a hot air balloon and take a trip over the Swiss alps.
Your virtual home is your safe space. That’s where you’ll be spending a lot of time with your family members, so it’s important to customize it properly and make it cozy, warm, welcoming, and inviting.
One way to make it feel more like a real home is to upload pictures of family members to the walls.
Other things you can do on Alcove include listening to music, following workout videos, practicing meditation, and more! You can attend concerts together with your siblings or play with your pet rabbit, dressing it up with hats and playing fetch.
If your family members aren’t familiar with VR, don’t worry. You can guide them through the experience and show them the ropes.
Alcove Playground allows developers to link and integrate their virtual reality experiences into Alcove. For example, if you created a virtual reality board game, you can integrate it into the Alcove platform.
If the experience you’ve created is too large to integrate into the Alcove home theme, you can still integrate it, as it will launch in a new scene.
MeetinVR is a virtual reality chat and meeting app designed for teams and businesses. It allows team members to join virtual meetings in the metaverse as an alternative to in-person meetings, without losing the realistic aspect.
Regardless of where in the world your team members are, they can collaborate, shake hands, and talk to each other as if they were in the same room.
Tools like the whiteboard, magic pointer, 3D pen, and more allow team members to work on mind maps, brainstorm together, and collaborate together in a way that traditional, non-VR collaboration tools just don’t allow.
You can typically have 20-33 participants in each meeting, depending on whether there is an ongoing active workshop or a passive slide or video presentation.
What is the virtual meeting space like? There are different types of workspaces and meetings designed for different purposes.
For example, there are workshop and presentation rooms with 32 seats, with sound-isolated breakout areas that allow you to break up your participants into smaller groups with more specific focuses. There is a large virtual screen for presentations, under which you can add your brand logo.
There are also smaller meeting rooms with six spots around a roundtable. Twelve styles of these small-group meeting rooms are available, depending on your preferences.
For celebrations and team building or networking events, there is a large virtual environment with multiple floors. There is a fireplace, networking areas, and other cool spots that allow people to hang out and chat with each other.
MeetinVR can also create a customized meeting room just for you.
Alternatively, you can create a mirror of your real meeting room in the metaverse by uploading 3D files. That allows team members to really experience being back together with each in person at the workplace, allowing for better team cohesion and communication.
Glue is a platform designed to help teams communicate across the globe. Even if your team members travel frequently and aren’t located in the same place, you can use Glue to interact in the virtual meeting rooms.
The avatars mimic the hand gestures and movements of the meeting participants in real time, adding a realistic element that is only enhanced by the spatial audio. The spatial audio adds 3D directionality to voices, which a standard video or audio chat platform can’t do.
If you don’t like any of the provided meeting rooms, you can always create your own customized meeting room to fit the needs of your team.
In the meeting rooms, you can take advantage of the many collaboration tools offered by the platform. From whiteboards to post-it notes to 3D drawings, your work will be saved automatically for future meetings.
Another awesome tool that increases collaboration is Team Files, which allows team members to store and share files like 3D models, images, videos, and more. Team Files syncs seamlessly across devices, meaning you can upload files on a desktop computer and present them during a meeting in which participants are wearing VR headsets.
However, you don’t have to upload files you’ve already created. You can do the opposite: Create new files and assets in Glue and then export them when done.
Glue likes calling its virtual meeting rooms “persistent,” which basically means that the meeting environment and content from the meeting do not disappear once the meeting is over. Instead, you can return to space at any time.
I found VRChat to be the best, because you can use it to meet old friends and make new friends. It even allows you to use it without a headset, though I recommend getting one if you can.
You can play games, explore worlds, and have a lot of fun on VRChat, all for free. As one of the oldest VR social media apps out there, you will never run out of worlds to explore, people to meet, events to attend, and games to play.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.