VRChat is a free-to-play massively multiplayer online virtual reality social platform created by Graham Gaylor and Jesse Joudrey. It allows players to interact with others as 3D character models. The game was released for Microsoft Windows as a standalone application compatible with the Oculus DK1 development kit on January 16, 2014, and via Steam’s early access program on February 1, 2017. It supports the Oculus Rift, Oculus Rift S, Oculus Quest, and the newly added Oculus Quest 2 via the Oculus Store, the HTC Vive series, Windows Mixed Reality headsets and the Valve Index through SteamVR. Notably, it also supports full-body humanoid avatar tracking via Vive Trackers, though none of these accessories are mandatory to play.
VRChat’s gameplay is similar to that of games such as Second Life and Habbo Hotel. Players can create their own instanced worlds in which they can interact with each other through virtual avatars. A software development kit released alongside the game gives players the ability to create or import character models from various franchises and adopt them as their personas.
Player models are capable of supporting “audio lip sync, eye tracking and blinking, and complete range of motion. It also includes several minigames in which players can “Capture the Flag, rob a bank in Steel ‘n’ Gold, and lob digital discs at each other in a match of Battle Discs.”
VRChat is also capable of running in desktop mode without a VR headset, which is controlled using either a mouse and keyboard, or a gamepad. Some content has limitations in desktop mode, such as the inability to freely move an avatar’s limbs, or perform interactions that require more than one hand.