Facebook-owned Oculus announced on Thursday that it will add subscription tiers to several popular platforms, including the popular app Rec Room, a free, VR-focused platform that is reminiscent of Roblox.
Oculus Store developers will have more opportunities to generate more revenue streams from their games, which is a plus. However, I'm not convinced that Rec Room is a viable app for a subscription-based business model.
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Oculus upgrades the Oculus Store with subscriptions
Six Oculus apps now have subscription tiers: Rec Room, FitXR, Tribe XR, TRIPP, vSpatial and VZfit. I've had the pleasure of exploring Rec Room, a free social VR environment that is filled with user-created games. You can run an obstacle course in one room and climb never-ending walls in another.
Rec Room is now offering Rec Room Plus (RR+), a monthly membership for $7.99. The subscription, according to the Oculus Store, "gives you access to free items, exclusive content, and tons of tokens." Would I purchase a subscription? Not a chance in hell.
Although you'll find your fair share of adults in Rec Room, it's also filled with squeaky-voiced, ill-mannered, foul-mouthed children. On top of that, the subscription's selling points are not alluring. Here's what you'll get:
- 6,000 tokens monthly: a $10 USD value
- One four-star box per week
- 10% discount in Rec Room stores that accept tokens
- Exclusive access to the RR+ section of the item store
- 100 saved outfit slots
- Sell premium inventions/keys for tokens
These virtual perks don't have any real-life, practical value, so I wouldn't recommend Rec Room Plus. However, from another point of view, subscribing to Rec Room Plus is an ideal way to show your support for the developers.
How to become a Rec Room Plus member
If you love Rec Room, and you insist on becoming a paying member, I won't hold you back. Here are the steps:
1. Click on the "Rec Room Plus" button from any token store in the game.
2. Hit the "Info" button to learn more about how Rec Room Plus works. This is an important step because there are weekly requirements members must meet to enjoy the full value of their subscription. For example, members must log into their account each week to claim their tokens and boxes.
3. Click on the "Buy "button and hit "Confirm." You're now a Rec Room Plus member.
The benefits of subscription-based VR apps
I'm not completely against VR app subscriptions. As mentioned, Rec Room doesn't have sufficient marketable content for a monthly membership, but VR fitness apps like FitXR are ideal platforms for subscription-based services.
Supernatural, for example, is a fitness app that requires a monthly payment of $19 a month. The app is regularly updated with new meditation courses, stunning 3D locations, fitness routines, and music to keep users entertained and motivated.
Take it from me: Non-membership VR fitness apps like Dance Central get boring after about a week or two because they lack updates and new content. Users benefit from frequently updated, membership apps that keep them active and entertained, which makes subscription-based models appealing to VR fitness consumers.
As a cherry on top, Oculus' subscription announcement means customers will get to enjoy more free trials. "We’ve also heard that many of you want to try more games and apps before you purchase," Oculus said. "Subscription-based titles also have the option to offer free trials so you can try out the experience. You can cancel at any time to avoid being charged for the next billing cycle."
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Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!