VR games that can make teleconferencing a lot more fun

To make meetings more stimulating, some people have moved on to video games and VR apps. We think that’s a swell idea, and here are some VR games that would make for awesome conference rooms.

By Anabelle Vo

 

Several months into quarantine, and it seems like the common sentiment is that everyone is getting a bit “zoomed out.”

The online conferencing app Zoom has blown up in value and necessity now that telecommuting is the reality for a large number of the workforce. To spice things up, companies have also begun to dip their toes into VR apps like Spatial. Similarly, some have even begun to use video games as virtual meeting spaces.

We see a potential here to marry these two clever solutions. Why not use VR games and apps to meet with your coworkers and loved ones alike? Here are some options that would be perfect for this purpose, even for the non-gamers among us.

AltspaceVR

This free app is supported on multiple devices including Oculus and the HTC Vive. Altspace markets itself as the virtual space for shows, meetings, and other large gatherings. The app almost met its end in 2017, when funding for the young startup fell through. However, an outpouring of support from AltspaceVR fans led to its swift revival, and here we are several years later–the app is alive and well. Comedian and musician Reggie Watts have recently staged virtual events with Altspace. As a number of apps on this list, Altspace offers virtual, user-created spaces or “Worlds” that you can use as a basecamp for your meeting for a nice change of scenery. You can also create your own world or edit existing ones with tools provided by Altspace. Virtual shenanigans will be had by all in a user-friendly environment!

Bigscreen VR

This VR screen-sharing app allows you to watch videos or play games with friends in a virtual space. Create your own 3D avatar and interact with other people in more than 20 different environments, including movie theaters and campfires. The app is available on a variety of VR platforms, and you also have the option to run your desktop apps using the Remote Desktop function with a couple of extra steps. Worth exploring if you’re feeling a bit of that Zoom fatigue.

Rec Room

Available on Playstation, Oculus, Windows, and iOS, you can play with or without a headset. As far as VR games go, Rec Room probably offers users the most in terms of flexibility and variety in gameplay. It also allows you to build your own Room to hang out with friends or meet with your coworkers. Let your creativity flow. Telecommute, play minigames together as a team, or visit other player-created rooms. Never stare at your coworker’s wall decorations in between awkward silences again!

Steam VR

This free offering from Valve supports a wide variety of VR headsets and allows you to create custom “home environments,” or just pop into one that’s already made. You just need to download the Steam client, which is also free, to search for the perfect virtual meeting space. Simply hang out in a picturesque virtual location, explore interactive environments, or play games together.

Star Trek: Bridge Crew

This 2016 release allows single or multiplayer gameplay for up to 4 people. It’s perfect for small meetings, and the game was updated in 2017 by the developers to allow for playing without a VR headset. You don’t need to be a Trekkie to have fun though. Just log in, with or without a VR headset, and meet with your worker in a novel virtual space (pun not intended). If your team finds themselves getting intrigued by the gameplay, however, you can even use the game quests as a team training exercise. The final frontier (for online meetings) is here!

Eagle Flight

Tired of being trapped within the confines of physical space and reality? That’s what VR games are for. If you’ve ever wanted to soar through the sky while discussing quarterly numbers with your boss, Eagle Flight is the game for you. The game is exactly as its name would suggest. Its main downside is that VR headsets are required, but it does allow cross-platform playing so not everyone needs to own the same gear. The multiplayer Free Flight mode lets you and 5 friends explore this version of Paris together.

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