Are you ready to level up from the boring old video conferencing tools? We’ve used a lot of VR apps for meetings, internally and with customers/partners. When we say “productive remote meetings”, we mean regular or daily meetings such as standups, brainstorming sessions, project check-ins, team or client presentations, etc. Here are our favorite apps for this specific purpose, ranked in order of preference. Please note: These are the 3 most important criteria in this comparison and ranking of the best apps for VR meetings.
- Ease of use: the more friendly to people who have never used VR before, the better
- Ability to interact with work-related documents, presentations, etc: You shouldn’t feel hampered from your normal digital workflows
- Availability on multiple platforms: Especially being accessible to non-VR users, since “VR headsets for everyone” is not always feasible Also, please keep in mind that the ranking is based on the specific needs and preferences of a small research/editorial/consultancy team. For example, we rarely have meetings with more than 10 participants.
Comparison table: Best apps for VR meetings 2021
For a simple overview, please refer to the comparison table below:
|Name||Max users||Custom 3D objects||Custom environments||Included environments||Broadcast / Recording||Text input||Access to web browser|
|Spatial||40||Yes||No||1||Screen share||Handwriting, Voice to text, Notes, Whiteboard||Screen share, In-app|
|Horizon Workrooms||16 (50 including video call-in a)||No||3||Screen share||Handwriting, Whiteboard||Desktop streaming|
|MeetinVR||10 (30)||Yes||Pro/bespoke||8||In-engine camera tool||Handwriting, Notes, Whiteboard||Screen share, In-app|
|Glue||30||Yes||Pro/bespoke||10||Screen share||Handwriting, Whiteboard, Notes||Screen share|
|Mozilla Hubs||25||Yes||User editor||Lots||Screen share||Handwriting||Screen share|
|Big screen||12||No||No||20+||-||No||Desktop streaming|
|Engage||50 (100+)||Yes||Pro/bespoke||21+||Spatial recording, in-engine camera||Handwriting||Screen share|
|Rumii||20||Yes||Pro/bespoke||12||Screen share||Handwriting, Whiteboard||Screen share|
|AltspaceVR||40 (100+)||Yes||User editor||100+||In-engine camera tool||No||In-app|
|Rec Room||Yes||User editor||Hundreds||Screen share (beta)|
|FrameVR||60||Yes||User editor||8||Screen share||Whiteboard, Voice to text||Screen share|
In Spatial, your VR meetings will have a whiff of magic about them. It feels like the best science fiction brought alive. This is a tool for truly native digital meetings. Additionally, Spatial can also be useful as a thinking and planning space for yourself, without bringing other people with you.
First, the avatars. When you sign up in the browser, you upload a photo or take one with your webcam. In seconds, that photo is rendered into a realistic-looking 3D copy of your face, attached to a t-shirt-wearing torso. It’s the first wow moment of many with Spatial.
Being built originally for AR headsets (it has both Hololens and Magic Leap support), Spatial now also runs on Oculus Quest. It was just officially released in the official Quest store, and it’s free for most normal use. Furthermore, for those without either VR or AR hardware, Spatial has an excellent browser participation mode. It lets users join from desktop or mobile, and while those users don’t get avatars, they can share their webcam into the Spatial scene. They can also upload files or write notes that show up in the meeting. Lastly, a mobile app for both Android and iOS is in beta, and lets users navigate in the virtual space on the screen OR activate augmented reality mode to display the meeting in their own surroundings.
Speaking of files showing up – here’s the next special piece of Spatial. When you bring things into the meeting, it feels like you’re magically conjuring them from thin air! From VR, you can share local files from your headset, or glimpse down on your phone or computer to select files using browser mode. There’s support for images, videos, pdf’s, and 3D objects.
But you can also use the embedded search function and type or speak your “wish” into Spatial. It will show you an assortment of search results in the shape of 2D images or simple 3D objects (from Google and Sketchfab, respectively), from which you simply “pluck” stuff.
There are four virtual environments (including one that’s pretty much an empty space) in Spatial, and they all have a spacious and future-y, tasteful feel. It officially supports 30 participants in VR, with an additional 20 joining from the browser spectator mode – BUT the VR meeting spaces in Spatial will feel quite crowded with more than 15 or so avatars in them.
The user interface of Spatial is very intuitive, with simple icon-based commands from a menu that you can activate at any time. It even has support for handtracking, making it possible to virtually shake hands and express yourself more clearly with hand gestures. Conjuring and manipulating 2D (images, notes/whiteboards – including typing with a virtual keyboard OR handwriting with a pen) and 3D objects is a breeze.
Simply put – Spatial is special. You really have to try it.Read more about Spatial
2. Horizon Workrooms
Horizon Workrooms is Facebook's internally developed collaboration tool for Oculus Quest 2. Its standout features are the tight integration with your normal PC workflow including keyboard tracking, the solid avatar system, and the ability to use your controller as a whiteboard marker by holding it "upside-down".
Workrooms is a step above the competition when it comes to mixed reality-sprinkled features. Typing on your real keyboard through the "Desk Passthrough" option (when you don't own one of the keyboards with real-time tracking support) is a joy. The spatial audio latency and quality is remarkably good, adding much to the sense of immersion and co-presence with friends or colleagues. Some missteps in the user onboarding experience sadly detract from the overall impression - which is still decidedly top tier.Read more about Horizon Workrooms
It’s a subtle thing, but **MeetinVR **gets most things just right. It has great avatars, a slick user interface inside and outside VR, and great interactive elements that increase engagement in meetings. It’s easy to pick up a pen (just grab it from behind your ear!) and produce a writing surface of your own chosen size and color, starting to take notes while holding it in your hand. Then you take the post-it/sheet or paper/whiteboard and easily snap it to a wall. Or you can just doodle in 3D. It’s also simple to access and import or display documents such as images, spreadsheets, PowerPoints/PDF's and even 3D objects. The included environment are just as polished as the avatars and range from classic office settings to a big “space capsule”-themed creative space. MeetinVR is built for group sizes of around 8 participants, but there’s a bonus auditorium environment for one speaker and 30 attendees. MeetinVR is available by contacting and getting a software license directly from the developers.Read more about MeetinVR
Glue is a close competitor to MeetinVR in the premium enterprise app segment, and arguably has features that make it even more appealing to bigger organizations. It has enterprise-level security and is just as polished, even if the limited avatar selection is a draw-back for now. (They are working on a revamped avatar system.)
The included environments are nice and “breathy”, that is, they’re bigger and work well for meetings with bigger groups of up to 20 or so people. You can easily divide into smaller groups and have 3-4 concurrent meetings/breakouts in the same space.
You can easily create whiteboards to write on, doodle in 3D, bring up a PC screen on a screen inside Glue, or import 3D objects.Read more about Glue
5. Mozilla Hubs
Hubs is an open-source project from Mozilla, known for the Firefox browser. Like FrameVR, it runs directly in the browser on almost all VR headsets (except Cardboard!) as well as in 2D browsers on desktop and mobile. It was recently used as the backbone of the entirely virtual IEEE VR conference with over two thousand attendees, but it works just as well for small meetings. You can pick from lots of basic avatars, but you also have full freedom in designing the look you want – it does take real 3D modeling skills, though.
It’s almost the same with environments for Hubs. There is a good selection of pre-made environments. In addition to those, you can use a powerful design tool called Spoke to create any kind of environment (within the memory limit, of course). Environments and avatars can be created with consideration to PC or mobile performance.
If you’re prepared for lots of creative control but a somewhat steep learning curve to prepare the exact environment for your meeting – while also being accessible and simple enough for meeting participants, Hubs is a great choice.Read more about Mozilla Hubs
6. Big screen
BigScreen is like having a LAN party in VR. It’s a polished app with nice environments, a good cartoon-style avatar system, and a clear and simple user interface. You can’t move freely in the environments, but only teleport between preset vantage points. The reason for this is that the central point of focus in each room is a big screen – hence the name.
Participants can install the app on their Windows PC to be able to stream their computer screen into the app. When you do that, you get a private view of your screen right in front of your per default. You can also mirror the content on the big center screen, making it easy to do presentations from PowerPoint, pdf’s, video content or any “flat” content. If many users are running the PC streaming application, they can take turns in projecting their screens to the big screen.
BigScreen is focused on social movie-watching and gaming, and you can always check into the app to jump into whatever open rooms that are hosted by users right then – or a selection of themed rooms centrally hosted by BigScreen themselves. There’s even the possibility to buy tickets and attend their VR cinema with high-quality streaming of movies from an official partnership with Paramount Pictures – and this includes 3D movies!
It’s recommended that the person who hosts a BigScreen session runs it from a PC-VR setup because it allows for up to 12 participants. If hosted directly from an Oculus Quest or Go, the limitation is four people in a room.Read more about Big screen
ENGAGE is more powerful and polished than most. You get some great-looking standard environments to choose from, and there’s also the option of creating entirely custom worlds – for that you need to get in touch with the company behind it. That company is Immersive VR Education from Ireland, and the name lets you know that this app’s core focus is on learning and teaching in VR.
There are great avatar customization options, and you can even upload a photo of yourself to get an “almost” lifelike avatar. You’re represented by a complete digital body in ENGAGE, which differs from most other apps in this list where your avatar lacks arms and lower body.
Some other unique features with ENGAGE is the ability to run your meeting inside 360 videos, as well as “spatial recording” – which means that you can invite later participants to go back to a fully in-app 3D replay of any meeting or presentation, facilitating the same spectator experience as the people who experienced the meeting live.
ENGAGE can be used for free, and it also has a premium offering that unlocks the full feature set – including the option to do non-public events/meetings.Read more about Engage
Available for most VR headsets including Oculus Go, Rumii is an app that does what you should now expect from a VR meeting tool. The included environments all have one central screen where you can activate “widgets” such as whiteboard, media player, screen sharing, PDFs, etc. You can also activate a whiteboard “layer” on top of documents or images shown on the screen.
Rumii’s developer Doghead Simulations are focused on the education and training market segment. They are open to creating any bespoke content and simulations/trainings inside the Rumii platform, if you have specific needs.
The user interface with menu navigation, in-app tool selection, etc, has a basic and somewhat clunky feel, but it does the job. This is of course a subjective opinion – many users are very happy with the tool.
Rumii has free and paid options, but now with the corona virus situation they’ve temporarily removed the cost entirely for their full premium package – so go and try it out!
(Note: To download the Quest version of Rumii, you need to access it through Sidequest rather than the main appstore.)Read more about Rumii
Altspace is the social VR platform owned by Microsoft which you can check out as a regular user just out for a meetup, a chat or a game of Cards Against Humanity. It’s more focused on events than meetings – which means it can work fine for business purposes too, as long as you have one central organizer who gathers any material to be discussed into a presentation beforehand.
The avatar system has recently been completely revamped and you have a great amount of freedom to customize your own digital alter ego.
If you want to delve deep there is a quite complex world-building editor which includes import from Unity, but there are also many high-quality environments from which to pick from the start.
The biggest drawback for Altspace as a tool for “normal everyday meetings” is the lack of in-session interactivity. Sure, you can interact socially, and the “floating emoji” feature is a nice touch, but you can’t draw on a whiteboard or annotate documents/objects etc.
Altspace has been used for many huge events during covid-19. In the summer of 2020, Alt Space was the central platform for the Educators In VR Summit with over 6000 attendees. It also recently hosted the VR version of Burning Man, during which it piloted many advanced functions for cool custom-built worlds and events.Read more about AltspaceVR
10. Rec Room
Rec Room is not designed for professional meetings at all – but hey, that could be a positive argument! If you and your team at some point in time feel like hanging out in a playful and informal setting, with lots of fun and engaging games to break up the serious discussions, (there’s a bowling hall with a pool table, disc golf, charades and much, much more), this app can certainly be used for a welcome change of scenery. Maybe for informal Friday meetings?
The avatars in Rec Room look toy-like, with flat faces and 2-dimensional face expressions. You can dress as a cheerleader, a pirate, ninja, etc…
You can’t really share media or documents inside Rec Room, but there is an experimental desktop screen sharing feature to show powerpoint presentations (it’s not built for video though – it only has a refresh rate around 1 frame per second). It is also possible to bring up a functional whiteboard with pens. For world-building, Rec Room has a powerful editor and scripting tool.Read more about Rec Room
FrameVR is SO SIMPLE! It easily takes first place when it comes to accessibility, which is impressive coming from an app that was just released in the beginning of 2020.
You get to import PDFs, images, videos, 360 photos and 3D objects in your space. A recent addition is the ability to create whiteboards, which means a lot for collaboration. You can build multiple “scenes” within one “frame”, so you can easily change between environments and themes. And you can invite participants with a simple link – the app runs in the browser! It works fine in 2D on desktop and phones, with the possibility to stream your (web/front-facing) camera or screen into the room.
There is a basic avatar editor, with probably the most simplistic-looking avatars out of all apps in this list.
Using Quest or desktop VR, you get a fully competent social VR solution for doing presentations and interacting around existing material. FrameVR does have bugs though. On Quest, there have been sessions when I haven’t got my mic audio come through at all. And on Oculus Go, while it seems as first like FrameVR loads as it should, I haven’t been able to move from the spot in VR. I’ve heard other users that have got movement working in Go, but it seems to require quitting and reloading the browser tab.
It’s also worth pointing out that FrameVR does NOT run in VR on simple Cardboard headsets for smartphones.Read more about FrameVR
Which is the best VR meeting app for you?
As you can see, this list has a mix of virtual reality meeting platforms: premium apps for enterprise, social VR apps for consumers that can also be used professionally and some in between those. I hope it makes you consider making the leap to VR meetings as an alternative to video conferencing for your remote collaboration needs!
What apps do you miss from this list? What would you like to see if we do more in-depth reviews for these apps individually? And have you started exploring the possibilities with VR meetings yet?