Oculus Quest owners will be able to choose between virtual home environments “in the coming weeks”, according to Facebook.
The Oculus Go, which runs the same operating system as Quest, has offered switchable environments since launch. You can choose between the grand canyon, a cityscape, a nebula, and more. However, these are only immersive spherical images, not a 3D environment. Because Oculus Quest includes positional tracking, it uses a real time environment — specifically a wooden dome in a forest at night time, with an aurora borealis visible outside.
This wooden dome is what you see when you put on the headset and where you’re returned to when you close a piece of software. Until now it’s been the only option, but Quest owners should soon be able to choose from a range of environments.
There’s no word yet on how many environments to expect, or what those environments will be. The original Oculus Rift only offered two environments (the second added in a post-launch update) while the Oculus Go offers ten, though of course a spherical image is less difficult to add.
The Environments changelog section ends with “this feature will be rolled out gradually over the coming weeks to ensure optimal quality and stability. Once the feature is fully rolled out, look out for additional environment options coming in future releases”. This suggests Facebook will be expanding Quest’s Home further. We’d certainly like to see it become social like the Rift’s Home, where you can see the avatars of your current party or invite friends to visit. However, that could conflict with Facebook’s upcoming ‘Horizon’ metaverse. Given Facebook’s strategy changes on platform level apps, especially in the social space, Horizon could conceivably even replace Home one day (on both Quest and Rift).
App Installs Before Sleep, New Experiments
The 11.0 update for Oculus Quest includes some other features as well — most headsets will update automatically as Facebook rolls out the new software to devices over several days. Once updated, the headset will also finish downloading and install apps before going to sleep. A number of new “experiments”, Facebook’s terminology for opt-in beta features, have been added as well:
- New High Score Shelf in VR (Beat Saber): See High scores from Friends in VR Feed when playing Beat Saber
- Achievements in VR: See achievements (new levels, trophies etc. in games) from Friends in VR Feed
- Personalization in VR: Users can favorite or hide apps/genres, which will either boost or remove them from the Explore Feed.