Rec Room and VRChat are two of the most popular social VR games, and both are great places to meet new people and enjoy a wide variety of activities. This article going to discuss the main differences between VRchat and Rec Room to help you decide which is the better game for you to spend time in.
Rec Room Vs VRChat
Rec Room and VRChat are both social VR platforms with large player bases that let people create their own experiences and socialize in virtual reality. Both can be played in VR mode and in non-VR mode.
Rec Room is a social VR game that takes the form of a rec center where you can meet up with friends and strangers alike, and enter a variety of different rooms to take part in a range of activities. Although socializing is a key part of the experience, the focus of Rec Room is on exploring the user-created rooms, and playing games, sports, and hobbies with other users.
You can customize your avatar, but you are limited to a selection of preset options, and all of the avatars are of a similar cartoon-like style. The player population is generally friendly, but the quality of social interaction varies widely. The in-game menu and search options are easy to navigate to find new rooms, and entering a new room is a fairly seamless experience.
VRChat is a social VR game that also has user-generated worlds, but it has a greater focus on socializing than Rec Room. VRChat has eclectic and diverse avatars, and many people like to roleplay as their avatars. Many of the most popular VRChat worlds provide beautiful social spaces for people to interact and spend time in, but there are also loads of worlds dedicated to games and activities.
Activities range from playing pool, watching movies, jetskiing, catching live comedy, going to nightclubs, playing prison escape, visiting stunning aquariums, mini-golf, escape rooms, playing fully fledged horror games, board games, trampolining, and thousands of other activities. I’ve covered some of the best VRChat worlds to visit in another article.
Rec Room and VRChat thrive due to the hard work and creativity of their communities, and both have excellent content creation tools to make new rooms and worlds for other users to enjoy.
The creator tools for VRChat are built on Unity and are separate from the game client. Whilst this means there is a larger learning curve for creating content for VRChat, the power of Unity means that you can build just about anything you can imagine. The creator tools for Rec Room are built into the game and are easier for complete beginners to start to use, but lack some of the capabilities of the VRChat creator tools.
Both VRChat and Rec Room have been around for a long time, with Rec Room being initially released in June 2016, and VRChat being available for Windows since January 2014, and Steam since February 2017.
Rec Room Vs VRChat Player Numbers
Rec Room and VRChat are both free to play and hugely popular. They are consistently amongst the most popular VR games being experienced on Steam VR and Oculus/Meta VR headsets.
- Rec Room recently reported that they have had more than 75 million lifetime users, and have more than 3 million monthly active users.
- VRChat has an estimated 2.1 million monthly active users and has had a peak of 42564 concurrent users on Steam. User numbers on Oculus headsets are unknown but are likely to be significantly higher than this, in view of the larger user base.
Rec Room And VRChat Avatars
Rec Room has highly stylized avatars, with a cartoon-like look, similar to Nintendo or Quest 2 avatars. They have no lower body, consisting of just a head, hands, and upper body, and have limited customizability. All the avatars are family-friendly, and there are good customization options that are all done in-game
You can collect a range of clothes and accessories for your avatar as you play Rec Room, giving you further ways to differentiate your character from others.
The range of options for avatars in VRChat is much more extensive, with many weird and wonderful avatars available, as well as more conventional options. Whether you want to play as a character from a popular TV show or movie, an anime cat girl, or just a well-designed avatar that you can identify with, you are likely to be able to find it.
The big difference with avatars in VRChat is that you don’t customize your avatar in the game. You can either find an existing avatar you like in the game to use, and save it to your favorites list to keep it, or you can create an avatar outside of the game and import it into VRChat. There are a number of avatars that you can find in the default home world, but there are also loads of avatar worlds, where you can find hundreds of amazing avatars to choose from.
You can use the Unity development tools, or an avatar maker tool such as Ready Player Me to make an avatar to your liking.
When you first start playing VRChat, you will notice that there is a strong anime influence to a lot of the avatars, and you will see the same avatars again and again. This is largely due to the technical skills needed to make unique avatars in Unity, although the pool of options is steadily increasing, particularly with the emergence of other avatar creation tools.
VRChat also allows you to attach scripts to avatars, enabling them to have unique animations and effects.
Rec Room has bright and cheerful, but simplistic graphics that are very cartoon-like. There is a consistent graphical style across the entire game that you are likely to either love or hate. The simplistic graphics mean that Rec Room has low system requirements and can therefore be played on even low-end PCs, as well as standalone VR headsets such as the Quest 2, and even mobile devices.
VRChat has more impressive and realistic graphics, and there are some avatars and worlds that are not available for users of standalone VR headsets such as the Meta Quest 2. I have visited lots of breathtakingly beautiful VRChat worlds that far exceed what can be achieved in Rec Room, and I constantly find aesthetically interesting worlds, whereas Rec Room is a little more homogenous.
Menu And UI Differences Between Rec Room And VRChat
Rec Room has a more user-friendly UI that is easy to navigate even for complete beginners, whereas VRChat takes a little time to learn how to use all the features. All of the menu functions are accessed from the watch that your avatar wears, and the buttons and options are laid out in a logical and easy-to-navigate way.
Helpful labels appear next to interactive objects that help you know how to use them, making the experience feel polished and professional.
VRChat has a very clean UI, with only a microphone button on-screen in the default view, indicating whether your microphone is on or not. The options menu is well laid out, with an initial launch pad menu that contains notifications, sound, and other settings, and access to the camera for screenshots.
Interacting with the world in VRChat feels a little less polished than in Rec Room, but it also feels like a more exciting and unpredictable place to be in, which I think is half the appeal.
Moving from one VRChat world to another can be a little more frustrating also, as you need to download any new world before going to it, which can lead to a short delay before you can access a world if you have not been to it recently.
Socializing In Rec Room Vs VRChat
Both Rec Room and VRChat facilitate social interaction in a very natural way, making it very easy to meet and chat with new people.
VRChat is much more unpredictable and downright weird at times, with people roleplaying their characters and really letting go of their inhibitions. You may find this a little unnerving when you first play VRChat, but once you relax, you’ll find yourself having loads of fun.
VRChat does have content that is not suitable for younger players, and whilst this can largely be avoided, it may be a reason for younger players or parents to choose Rec Room over VRChat.
VRChat has fantastic social safety options, which let you customize who you can see and hear, and who can interact with you. If you’re more of an introvert like me, it’s great to have the option to adjust how much interaction you have with others until you feel more comfortable.
Rec Room is also a great place to meet new people, and I’ve had loads of fun chatting to and playing games with many other people. There does seem to be quite a young player base in Rec Room, and you will find plenty of younger players being silly and making a nuisance of themselves.
Rec Room also has terrific options to customize your social experience. You can form a group to have a room to yourselves or adjust who can see and hear you if you want to control your social interaction.
Well done to both VRchat and Rec Room for the extensive social interaction options that give players complete control, and ensure that all users feel comfortable in both games.
Content Creation For VrChat Vs Rec Room
With thousands of custom worlds and rooms for Rec Room and VRChat, user-generated content is a big part of the appeal of both of these games. The key difference is that you can create custom rooms within Rec Room using simple tools, whereas you must download Unity and the VRChat SDK to create new content for VRChat.
There is a longer learning curve to create content in VRChat, but there is also more freedom to create whatever you want.
VRChat Creation Process
If you have some experience using Unity, you will feel right at home creating content for VRChat, but if not, there is a bit of a learning curve, and it will take some time before you are able to create the kind of worlds you are dreaming of.
The best advice I can give you is to look up some content creation tutorials for VRChat on Youtube, as these will get you up to speed quickly.
Rec Room Creation Process
The creator tools for Rec Room are built into the game, and you can start creating a custom room by accessing the “create” button from the menu. You use a “creator pen” to build your room from a number of templates, and you will very quickly learn to build simple environments with the tools provided.
Despite being easier to use initially, you are still going to need to put in a lot of time if you want to make an impressive room for others to enjoy. I genuinely found the creation process in Rec Room to be as enjoyable as the rest of the game and would encourage everyone who tries Rec Room to give it a go.
How To Play VRChat And Rec Room
- Rec Room is available for all major VR headsets and is available from the Oculus store, Steam, and the Playstation. It is compatible with standalone headsets such as the Quest 2, as well as PC-tethered VR headsets. You can also play it in desktop mode on PC and you can play a mobile version for iOS and Android devices.
- VRChat is available on the Oculus store, Steam, and Viveport for most popular VR headsets. You can play it in standalone mode on the Quest 2, but there are some limitations in terms of the worlds you can access and avatars you can use due to the limited graphical processing power of the Quest 2. You can also play in desktop mode for PC, but there is no PSVR or mobile version of VRChat.
How Do Rec Room And VRChat Make Money?
Rec Room and VRChat are both free to play and offer the full gameplay experience for free. However, both of these games are able to make money by selling premium subscriptions and cosmetic items.
VRChat Plus is a monthly subscription that costs $9.99 per month that provides a special nameplate icon, increased avatar favorite slots, photo invites, and an increased trust rank.
Rec Room makes money by selling tokens in-game that can be used to purchase cosmetic items for your character. It also has a premium monthly subscription for $7.99 per month that provides the following perks:
- 1,500 tokens per week
- One four-star box per week
- 10% discount in Rec Room stores that accept tokens
- Access to the exclusive selection of RR+ items in the store
- 100 saved outfit slots
- Access to sell premium inventions/keys for tokens
- Access to exchange tokens earned from selling for real money
Which Is Better, VRChat Or Rec Room?
Although on the surface, Rec Room and VRChat seem to be similar, they are really very different experiences. Rec Room is a well-curated social environment where you can take part in a range of fun activities. VRChat is more like a lawless 3D chatroom or metaverse, where normal social conventions are often left at the door.
As both Rec Room and VRChat are free, I would strongly encourage you to download both and give them a try. Most people I know quickly develop a preference for one or the other. Personally, I thought that Rec Room would be more appealing to me, but I now have way more hours played in VRChat.