Meta Quest (2): The VR living room will soon be social
Things will soon get social in the VR home of Meta Quest 2. This is indicated by findings in the latest Quest firmware.
Quest update 37.0 has recently been rolling out to beta testers. XR developer Luboš Vonásek examined the files, made some interesting finds, and captured them in a YouTube video.
The firmware update includes a tutorial for a new social feature that allows you to invite friends to the Meta Quest (2) virtual launch environment. If you create a party, they can beam themselves into your virtual living room as avatars. You can move around in it via teleportation.
It is also possible to watch Oculus TV together. With videos in 180- or 360-degree format, you are catapulted directly into the scenery.
Horizon Home is coming
These social features were announced in October at Connect 2021. Meta groups them together under the name Horizon Home and promised that it would roll out soon.
"This is our early vision for your home in the metaverse: a social space where you can invite friends to hang out together, watch videos, or jump into the next game with your group," it said.
At a later date, it will be possible to build and customize your own rooms. Horizon Home complements Meta's other Metaverse apps Horizon Worlds, Horizon Workrooms and Horizon Venues.
It is not certain whether Horizon Home will be included in the next update. Hints of the social feature have already been found in previous firmwares.
More realistic mixed reality
The same applies to Room Capture, a mixed reality feature that allows you to draw in walls and define the height of the ceiling in passthrough mode.
This enables more realistic mixed reality, since the corresponding apps know about the spatial limits of the physical environment. For example, virtual objects can bounce off walls or be permanently attached to them.
Developers have been allowed to publish apps with mixed reality elements in the Oculus Store since the end of 2021. The new interface spawned several exciting experiments like Mixed-Realty-Games and Social-Apps.
Video-based Mixed Reality will get really interesting with Meta's next VR goggles Cambria, which offers a high-quality passthrough mode.