Meta’s Quest v41 Update Adds Social Hangouts to the Home Space
Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg formally announced Quest v41 yesterday. The new update comes with the ability to invite friends into your virtual home as soon as you put on the headset.
Users on Meta Quest VR headsets will soon get the option to hang out with their friends on their homescreen.
The v41 Quest update also introduces a multiuser Horizon Home space that was announced at the Connect last year.
Horizon Home enables users to wear their headsets and immediately invite other users on Quest to join in on social experiences such as watching VR videos together. Horizon Home is an important building block towards a broader Horizon metaverse which Meta has been developing step by step in the past few years.
Zuckerberg announced the home hangout feature in a video made with Free Solo rock climber Alex Honnold which provides a brief demo of the system. In the video, both Zuckerberg and Honnold appear as the now-familiar Horizon legless avatars and they appear in a 360-degree video of Honnold on a free climb of the Dolomites before switching into a space landscape to chat some more.
Zuckerberg says in the Facebook post that additional Home space customization options are “currently under development.”
Meta has stated that the v41 update is coming out in the course of this week. Quest system updates typically roll out gradually and can take a few weeks to reach all headsets. Meta does this to guarantee that new features in the update will work as intended. Later in the week, we will get to know additional information about the new Horizon hangout feature, including the number of people it supports in a single hangout.
In addition to Horizon Home, Meta has created other meeting platforms such as the Horizon Workrooms VR meeting software along with the Horizon Worlds creative and social platform. Horizon Homes is similar to Facebook Spaces, the Facebook app where users could play minigames with their Facebook friends and even take virtual selfies. Spaces was shut down in 2019 to pave the way for Horizon. However, Horizon has never reached the popularity levels of some of the independent virtual reality hangout apps such as Rec Room, BigScreen, and VRChat.
Before the latest update, the Quest homescreen was a solitary experience in which players could move about and pull up apps.
The Home provides some advantages such as a direct integration into the core Quest experience.
Meta has also increased its focus its VR and AR as it seeks to gradually pivot away from its traditional social networking business. The company’s hardware strategy for a future metaverse is also in flux as the company restructures its priorities to respond to the prevailing business environment.
The company has shelved work on a consumer-focused augmented reality headset and a dual camera smartwatch and is currently focusing on a longer-term AR headset dubbed Artemis. While it is encountering challenges in its hardware plans, Meta is seeing good traction with VR software where its products are also filling gaps in the VR ecosystem with products like its virtual meetup apps.
Source: The Verge