In the current digital age, applications such as Zoom, WhatsApp, and Google Meet have become the social norm for both social and work communications. While nothing can still be compared to face-to-face interactions, these applications have been a godsend by making work-from-home meetings and catch-ups that much accessible. With that said, the constant usage of Zoom may be tiring you or your team out due to the internet lags, or awkward silences that could be frustrating to some. Making you eager to find virtual spaces that are great alternatives or similar but different to Zoom.
This is what we call ‘Zoom Fatigue’. To help you with that, here are virtual reality spaces that can give you that video conference vibe without being the traditional, boring video meeting platform.
1. Gather Town
One of the most intriguing ones is probably Gather Town, or formerly known as Online Town. This platform is a sweet cross between Zoom and an 8-bit videogame where it allows you to create themed virtual spaces using a wide selection of templates including offices, conference rooms, islands, schools, castles, and many others. Each user will join in with their own pixelated avatar where they can navigate from one room to another, interact with objects, or chat with colleagues, friends, and communities within each world. Aside from having the same camera and screen features like Zoom, you can also enter a private space with one or more users within the same world, making this the perfect fun alternative to the traditional virtual video meetings.
2. Mozilla Hubs
If you’re looking for an alternative virtual reality (VR) experience, Mozilla Hubs, or Hubs, is created for VR devices but you can also operate it on desktop or mobile browsers. Developed by the people behind Firefox, Hubs allow you to create 3D virtual scenes, including outdoor festivals, museums, or even a mad scientist’s house where you can simply share the link to invite others into your room. Unlike Gather Town which is fixed to a specific scene with a room, Hubs enable you to constantly change the scene without having to recreate your room. You can drop images, audios, PDF files, and any other documents anywhere around the room, making daily meetings easier to navigate for all your team members.
Do you see yourself as more of the creative and artsy type? Here is a virtual scrapbook of sorts where all the rooms available are a canvas for users to pin images, videos, games, doodles, GIFs, and many more. Each user that chimes in will appear as a circular bubble of either their image or video, if their camera is turned on. There’s a myriad of templates you can play around with, such as mood boards, workshops, movie themes, and even date night settings. While professional templates are still rather limited, it is still worth considering if you plan on having a fun brainstorming session, especially if you are in the creative industry. Otherwise, it is a great alternative to have a chill, catch-up session with your colleagues after a long project!
Developed by two co-founders who were masters of Minecraft servers, Branch provides a fun and laidback experience in a virtual world with an easy-to-use interface that doesn’t require a lot of explanation for your friends or colleagues. In Branch, you can create a ‘branch’ using one of their ready-made virtual office templates or from scratch. You have the ability to draw on whiteboards, add videos onto the TVs and computers of each room, and even share screens for presentations. Each of you will appear as a coloured talking emoji, giving the vibes of live interactions. If you’re looking for some privacy with a specific coworker, you can gather in a room and ‘close the door’, which bars anyone else from entering without knocking on the door and waiting to be let in!