Announced today at Facebook’s annual Connect conference, Horizon Home will replace Oculus Home on the Oculus Quest platform, bringing new social integration with multiple users.
“Launching soon as an update to the existing Home experience, this is our early vision for your Home in the metaverse,” Facebook explains on the Oculus Blog Connect recap. “A social space where you can bring friends to hang out, watch videos together, or jump into POPULATION: ONE with your squad.”
The ability to build and customize your home environment, akin to the tools available on Oculus Home for Rift on PC, will arrive “in the future” according to Facebook. Customization is on the way, but is “a little further out” than the new social integration features launching soon.
Speaking on a call earlier this week, Facebook’s VP of VR/AR (and 2022’s incoming CTO) Andrew Bosworth discussed how Horizon Home will be the new landing point for any Quest headset, replacing and building on the current Oculus Home system with more features.
“Horizon Home is the first thing you’re gonna see when you put on your Oculus Quest,” he said. “Previously there was Oculus Home when you put it on, but our goal is to actually make it Horizon Home [and] make it more social so you can invite your friends to join you as avatars.”
Facebook did not specify what video services would be supported to “watch a video” with friends in Horizon Home. The promotional video, embedded above, showed support for “Oculus Originals” 360 video experiences and a tab with “Your Media”, which might indicate support for local media files stored on the headset.
Other existing first-party services, like Oculus TV and Facebook Watch, are likely bets as well. However, it remains to be seen whether existing media streaming options (such as using web streaming services through Oculus Browser) will support multiple users in Horizon Home.
Likewise, there was no word on any new partnerships with major third-party content providers, such as Netflix, Disney+ and more, which could provide better and/or native social viewing integration with Horizon Home.
Facebook also announced that, starting later this year, Quest will support Messenger audio calls in VR, allowing you to call your Facebook friends from within your headset.