Rec Room (video game)
|Developer(s)||Rec Room Inc.|
|Publisher(s)||Rec Room Inc.|
|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Oculus Quest, IOS|
|Genre(s)||Game creation system, massively multiplayer online|
Rec Room is a virtual reality, online video game, and game creation system developed and published by Rec Room Inc. (formerly known as Against Gravity) and can be played on PlayStation, PC, Oculus Quest, and iOS.  It was released for Microsoft Windows in June 2016, PlayStation 4 in November 2017, Oculus Quest in May 2019, and iOS in November 2019.
The game may be played with or without a virtual reality headset. In virtual reality mode, the game uses full 3D motion via the motion capture system of a virtual reality headset and two hand-held motion controllers. The hub room vaguely resembles the lobby of a YMCA or other recreational center (thus earning the game's title of Rec Room) with doors that lead to various games and user-generated rooms. Players can explore the space around them within the confines of their physical floor-space, while roaming further by using controller buttons to teleport a short distance, with minimal or no virtual reality sickness. A “walking” mode enables players to move continuously rather than teleporting; however, this poses a higher risk of motion sickness. Motion controllers are required to pick up and handle objects in the game world, including balls, weapons, construction tools, and other objects.
Rec Room consists of separate multiplayer games, including first-person shooters, cooperative action role-playing games, a charades-like game, and six sports games. Rec Room also provides in-game tools for user-generated content.
An in-game item called the maker pen is used to generate various 3D shapes that can exist in the game world and can be interacted with. These custom shapes can be placed into a number of predesigned rooms. Using the maker pen, players also have access to a number of pre-generated and user-generated game assets, such as balls, tables, chairs and guns, which players can place into their rooms. Players can choose to save their rooms and then list them publicly such that other players can find and visit them. Owners of popular rooms earn weekly dividends of tokens, Rec Room’s main currency.
The maker pen also provides access to a node-based visual programming language, which is based on the dataflow programming paradigm and allows players to add various kinds of animated and interactive elements to their rooms. This feature allows players to create new multiplayer online video games that may be played within Rec Room; thus, the game effectively includes a game creation system.
Seattle-based development studio Rec Room Inc (Formally Against Gravity). was co-founded in April 2016 by Nick Fajt and Dan Kroymann. Prior to that, CEO Nick Fajt worked as the Principal Program Manager on the HoloLens team at Microsoft. Dan Kroymann worked on the same team after working on the Xbox team. Rec Room Inc.′s CCO Cameron Brown also worked at Microsoft as HoloLens Creative Director. In 2016 and early 2017, the company raised $5 million in funding for the development of Rec Room and its player community. According to CEO Nick Fajt, the company will keep Rec Room free to download.
In June 2019, Rec Room Inc. announced that the company raised additional $24 million over two rounds of funding.
Dan Ackerman, writing for CNET, described Rec Room as VR's killer app. In January 2017, Ars Technica reported that trolling and harassment in Rec Room were a problem. In June 2017 MIT Technology Review contributor Rachel Metz described it as a fun and significant example of VR's potential for social interaction, while criticizing its underdeveloped anti-abuse features. Filmmaker Joyce Wong described it as her choice of “most interesting piece of art in 2017”. In March 2018, Amy Sterling, writing for Forbes, mentioned room-building in Rec Room in the context of the development of a real-world match to the fictional “OASIS” of the novel Ready Player One.
- Sterling, Amy (March 25, 2018). "Visualizations Of The Future: Toward The Oasis". Forbes.com. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
- "Rec Room Coming to PlayStation VR, Open Beta Launches Nov. 21". PlayStation.Blog. November 9, 2017. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
- Heaney, David (May 15, 2019). "Rec Room On Oculus Quest Won't Have All Activities At Launch". UploadVR.com. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
- Groen, E.; Bos, J. (2008). "Simulator sickness depends on frequency of the simulator motion mismatch: An observation". Presence. 17 (6): 584–593. doi:10.1162/pres.17.6.584.
- "Company Against Gravity". VBProfiles. Spoke intelligence. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
- Hayden, Scott (February 2, 2017). "'Rec Room' Studio Raises $5M "to continue to build the future of Social VR"". RoadToVR. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
- "OFFICIAL MEMBERSHIP PAGE: Rec Room (Junior Mode)". kidsafeseal.com. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
- Matney, Lucas (June 12, 2019). "Against Gravity is building a VR World that won't stop growing". TechCrunch.com. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
- Ackerman, Dan (August 12, 2016). "VR finally has its killer app, and it's called Rec Room". CNET. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
- Newitz, Annalee (January 24, 2017). "Welcome to the world of trolling in virtual reality". Ars Technica. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
- Metz, Rachel (June 14, 2017). "Virtual Reality's Missing Element: Other People". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
- Wong, Joyce (December 27, 2017). "The art of VR: In 2017, filmmaker Joyce Wong found compelling new ways to socialize online". CBC Arts. Retrieved January 2, 2018.