New VR Social Network vTime Plans Digital Picnic With Smartphones

Hanging out in the metaverse is gonna get weird.

The virtual reality equivalent of a chatroom is a digital room — and that’s just what vTime, the latest venture from the British game design studio Starship, intends to build. The would-be Facebook of the virtual world will require only a smartphone and a headmount (think: Google Cardboard) and will be a complete social environment rendered in space.

According to the company’s first release, “users are able to enjoy music, and share images, videos, and spherical media in rich virtual environments.”

Details beyond that are scant, but the company does say that environments will range “from the majestic beauty of nature through to futuristic urban landscapes.”If vTime wants to harness what makes VR so potent, it could do worse than recreating powerful realistic environments inaccessible to those without enough money or time to make the trip. Just spitballing here, but we’d be down to catch up floating through space or in a sunny prehistoric park full of mammoths and glyptodonts or in that commodious living room from Friends.

vTime’s focus on mobile VR is a smart move in the sense that the investment, compared with, say, an Oculus Rift, is fairly low. It also gets to the potential of VR that other social network VR apps, like Swerve’s floating Twitter feed, haven’t quite tapped in to — we want to have shared VR dreams with our friends; the sexiest parts of Star Wars are not the opening scrawls. But to become the Facebook of VR you have to imagine you’ll butt up against Facebook, which also wants to be the Facebook of VR.

The app will make its free alpha debut on Android in November.