Facebook is revamping its Oculus Venues app with new features and avatars that could well be the same used in its Horizons social VR platform.
A new version of Venues is showing on the Oculus Store for some accounts, though who exactly can access it appears to be limited. I could find the app in the store, for example, but not download. Some on Reddit say they’ve been able to download it, but UploadVR Video Editor Zeena Al-Obaidi couldn’t find it listed at all. The app is listed as a Beta Early Access, and the current Venues app is still there as a separate listing.
Venues has long been Facebook’s platform for live events in VR, hosting sports games and concerts. That’s still the core of this new version, according to the store description, but the service has seen a massive visual overhaul. For starters, the user’s avatars step away from the original Oculus avatar system and adopt a more cartoonish look. It’s very likely that these are one and the same avatars being used in Facebook Horizons, the new social VR app revealed late last year.
Judging by the screenshots, it looks like Venues will now have a hub to visit different broadcasts from, sort of like a theater. Art from Oculus Story Studio classic, Dear Angelica, is also being displayed in 3D in one shot.
We’ve reached out to Oculus for more information on this new app. It’s not clear if anyone was meant to see this revamped listing — there’s been no official communication about it — but it could suggest that Facebook is getting ready to roll out Horizons itself. The app was promised for beta in spring 2020, but we’ve heard very little about it since its reveal at Oculus Connect last year. The next Connect is set to take place as a digital event next September, so there’s a good chance we’ll hear more there.