At its Oculus Connect event today, the VR company announced a new project: Oculus Avatars, designed to give you a real presence in virtual reality.
The avatars themselves are stylized but much more detailed compared to something like Nintendo's Miis. You're able to customize your character to make it look like you, choosing from a range of cosmetic options. The process looks a lot like character creation in a video game. "We want to enable social presence at the platform level," explained Nate Mitchell, Oculus co-founder and VP of product. The avatars will be launching alongside the upcoming Oculus Touch controllers, and will be coming to mobile in 2017. The avatars will also have a social element; when you interact with friends you'll be able to see their avatars.
To go along with the avatars announcement, Oculus also announced two new social features, including one called "parties," which lets up to eight people meet up and talk in VR using their avatars. You can even do other things in VR while in a party, which should make it a good feature for multiplayer gaming or other communal activities. The company also announced "rooms" so that you can make a virtual space to hang out in together. "When you start a party with friends with a single click you can join a virtual physical space together," says Oculus' Lauren Vegter.
Rooms and parties are said to be coming soon to Gear VR, and later for the Oculus Rift.