On March 23, 2021, Rec Room announced that they raised $100M with a valuation of $1.25 billion, which makes them the first VR software company to achieve “unicorn” status. Rec Room was launched for the Vive on June 1, 2016 after 99 days of development, and they’ve continued to rapidly iterate and develop it over the years with a release cadence ranging from a weekly to every other week for five and half years now. They’re the most cross-platform VR application being on Oculus Quest, PCVR on Steam and Oculus Home, PSVR for PS4 as well as a 2D version for PS4 (with a PS5 release coming soon), XBox, iOS, as well as Android.
I had a chance to catch up with one of the co-founders of Rec Room & Chief Creative Officer Cameron Brown on October 7th after the third annual Rec Con community conference. I wanted to get more context on the origin story of Rec Room, which was started by six people who all worked on creating augmented reality experiences for the Microsoft HoloLens — including Nick Fajt, Cameron Brown, Dan Kroymann, Bilal Orhan, Josh Wehrly, and John Bevis. I also wanted to get an oral history of the early days and evolution of their social VR platform, and so we cover some of the big turning points in the evolution of the user-generated platform, their in-game economy, and focus on creating opportunities for social VR interactions that’s embedded into everything that they create. There’s a lot of social VR and user interface innovations they’ve pioneered we well as helped to define many of the design paradigms that will no doubt persist into the evolution of the metaverse.
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