Altspace VR, a startup developing shared virtual reality spaces where people from across the globe can gather together to do things like watch movies or the Super Bowl, attend lectures, or have meetings, is now open to everyone.
Today, the Redwood City, California-based company officially launched after months of invite-only, short-duration beta access. Users need to have a VR system, like an Oculus Rift, although Altspace does offer a pared-down, 2D experience for those who don’t.
Now, Altspace CEO Eric Romo told VentureBeat, the company is hoping to expand the kind of gatherings it hosts to include things like appearances — essentially ask-me-anything type events — by well-known personalities. For example, Romo said, the company will host Sam Cossman, who became famous for exploring an active volcano with drones, later this month. Cossman is expected to give a virtual lecture about his experiences, and then take questions.
That’s the kind of thing for which Altspace’s technology is perfectly suited: bringing in someone to speak to an audience that’s physically scattered across the globe, but who can all be together in the company’s virtual environments. “Now you can connect with a world expert,” Romo said, but “he’ll be in his house, and you’ve got people all over the world” able to participate.
Romo said the company is lining up a number of similar speakers for future events.
Although Altspace has mainly been hosting its own events, it is trying to build a business at least in part around the idea that customers can host their own gatherings by taking advantage of its technology.
Altspace is also this week unveiling its software development kit, a tool that will allow third-party developers to make apps that can plug into the company’s VR environments. Examples include a chess game, a music visualizer, a puppet show, or just about anything else a developer can imagine and manifest inside an Altspace environment.
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