Why VR Is The Most Versatile Companion For Coronavirus Self-Isolation

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As the coronavirus crisis develops across the world and more communities prepare for self-isolation, VR headsets seem ideally suited as a versatile companion for the weeks ahead.

It’s true that VR is treated as a gaming platform first and everything else second at this point in time. But the medium’s capabilities also stretch far beyond gaming, overlapping with other forms of entertainment, providing us with ways to connect without physically meeting up and letting us explore new places, both real and fictional, from the comfort of our homes.

With that in mind, we’re rounding up the ways in which a VR headset can help you during self-isolation, along with some app suggestions for each. We’ve tried to cover experiences for the vast range of devices out there, including experiences for high-end PCs right the way down to Oculus Quest.

Of course, we also have Top 25 lists for basically every major VR headset and platform out there (including, Quest, PSVR, Rift and SteamVR), if you’re looking for more suggestions.

Social Interaction Without Risking Infection

One of the biggest reasons people are talking about VR in the wake of the coronavirus crisis is its ability to defy self-isolation. Social VR applications still have a long way to go before evolving into our own personal metaverses, but even in its current form it’s undeniably compelling to meet up with a virtual avatar of your friend online and then hang out together.

You’ll find that different apps specialize in different areas, so it’s good to give them all a look. Rec Room, for example, has a lot of different activities from paintball to co-op questing. AltspaceVR, meanwhile, has a full roster of live events to check out. With Bigscreen, you can even share your PC screen with others to watch videos or share other content with each other. And VRChat holds a sprawling user-created world with something new to see around every corner. Best of all, these are all free experiences.

Apps To Check Out:

Real World Facsimiles And Travel

It’s true that current VR limitations prevent a lot of experiences from perfectly simulating the real world. But there are a handful of experiences out there that actually get pretty close to the real thing. The light touch and pinpoint physics of Eleven: Table Tennis make it a genuine alternative to getting a ping pong table, for example.

But VR can also be a useful tool for real-world travel. Even if it can’t fully replace the real thing, there are apps out there that offer a truly impressive facsimile, like a virtual visit to Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, or taking a globe trotting trip as a National Geographic reporter.

Apps To Check Out:

Fun Fitness

One of VR’s most welcome and unexpected side-effects is just how healthy it is. Gaming has a long history of underwhelming takes on the fitness market but, with VR, you can play a few hours on a highly addictive experience like Beat Saber just for the fun of it and find yourself burning calories almost by accident.

Some games like BoxVR also specifically dedicate themselves to fitness and offer multiplayer modes to challenge your friends with too. Or you could tackle a VR campaign like the one in Creed: Rise to Glory and shed weight while you play a core gaming experience.

Apps To Check Out:

Going Beyond Your Living Room With Massive Virtual Worlds

While it’s true that games like Superhot VR and Beat Saber offer some of the best experiences in headsets, they’re also quite small in scale and don’t always capture a sense of travel. An unprecedented time such as this calls for massive virtual destinations you can lose tens of hours exploring. Exploring the world of Skyrim in VR was a dream come true for many, for example, and now’s the perfect time to return there.

It’s true that VR has relatively little in the way of these right now, but some ports of traditional games, high-end native games and some online offerings give you a fair bit of choice.

Apps To Check Out:

Travel To Your Favorite Universes

Streaming services like Netflix are no doubt going to see a heavy increase in use as self-isolation ramps up around the world. But you don’t just have to watch your favorite worlds onscreen; you can also visit many of them in VR. The platform has incredible potential for wish fulfillment, and we’re already seeing some experiences capitalize on that. If you want to use this time to truly escape from reality, VR is a great bet.

Apps To Check Out:

Relaxation And Entertainment

This can, of course, be an anxious time for a lot of people and it might be hard to turn that switch off. But VR offers a lot of options for retreat, whether you’re looking for light entertainment or games to help distract you or you’re in search of dedicated meditation alternatives. A light trek through the gorgeous worlds of Fujii can prove to be a soothing remedy, for example, or Guided Tai Chi offers a more practical approach.

Either that or maybe you simply want to watch Netflix in a different environment to your living room. It might sound silly, but it can go a long way to helping you lose yourself.

Apps To Check Out:



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