Meta Quest (2): Meta launches movie streaming in VR
Meta promotes social VR movie nights and brings films from Lionsgate into the virtual living room. The offer is only available in the US for now.
This month saw the launch of Horizon Home, a long-awaited feature that lets you invite friends into your launch environment. For virtual meetups, metaverse dates or movie nights together.
Horizon Home is part of Quest Update 41, which has been rolled out to users over the past two weeks. Although the update has already reached many Quest headsets, Horizon Home has not yet been activated. However, it may not be long before we can try out the new feature.
Oculus TV has been offering movies for a while now
Meta is now promoting Horizon Home and has promised movies from Lionsgate for the launch, which can be watched together on a virtual screen thanks to the new feature (see cover image). The movies will be streamed via Oculus TV, but only in the US for licensing reasons. Meta says that movies could also be offered in other countries in the future.
De facto, this is already the case. I discovered various Hollywood movies in 2D and 3D in early 2022, and if you search for them thoroughly in Oculus TV, you will usually find a feature film or two. However, you should not expect blockbusters; the movies offered are rather second-rate.
Among the streamed Lionsgate movies are Tarzan and Gods of Egypt in the 3D version. The movie lineup is updated monthly, according to Meta. Lionsgate holds the rights to popular film series such as The Hunger Games and John Wick, as well as the classic film Apocalypse Now. So there's still room to grow.
Meta's delayed streaming debut
Watching movies alone or together in virtual reality: This is far from a new idea. The VR app Bigscreen has been offering co-watching in VR for years and also has well-known cinema films on offer thanks to special licensing agreements.
Although Meta is late to the game in this business (at least with Meta Quest), it has several competitive advantages: Horizon Home is deeply integrated with the Quest platform and doesn't require a separate VR app, making it easier to meet and watch movies.
In addition, Meta doesn't have to pay platform fees because it provides the platform. Bigscreen and other providers have to cede 30 percent of movie rental revenue to Meta, which kills the business model. The Bigscreen CEO severely blamed Meta for this in the past.