Oculus Quest 2

Facebook – or should we say ‘Meta’ – has announced a slew of new features coming to the Oculus Quest, during its annual Connect conference.

With a slew of controversies engulfing Facebook right now, CEO Mark Zuckerberg took time out from crisis management to introduce a number of new features, including a new mixed reality platform for Quest, new and improved hangouts space and a new fitness focused Active Pack.

Let’s have a closer look at everything coming to the Oculus Quest platform in the next few months.

Activity Pack

This is a series of accessories Facebook is offering for the Oculus Quest 2, that’ll help to protect your headset and controllers when you’re using the Horizon Workout apps, Beat Saber, and other fitness-themed activities.

So, when your hands are getting sweaty, the new set of grips will help ensure they don’t fly out of your hands and straight into grandma’s photo on the mantlepiece. There’s also a new face pad, which is much easier to clean. Considering the existing one is foam, this will be much more suited to activity.

Facebook says the Activity Pack will be out next year.

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Presence Platform

Oculus is introducing a new mixed reality platform, which it says will be key to building a natural and more authentic “metaverse.” It comes under the Presence Platform banner. Mixed reality apps are heading to the Oculus Store and App Lab from the likes of Unity Labs, Spatial and YouTube VR.

The company says it is working on new technologies called Spatial Anchors and Scene. They’ll be introduced to the company’s Passthrough SDK, “understanding capabilities that will help virtual objects seamlessly blend with your actual physical environment.”

As part of this effort, the company is using an Interaction SDK, which will add high-quality hand interactions and voice input methods.

New Horizons

Facebook is announcing new virtual reality hangout spaces. It’s where you’ll spend time with your various contacts in the “meta verse.” There’s Horizon Home (previously Oculus Home), Horizon Workrooms, Horizon Worlds and Horizon Venues. Horizon Home is designed to be a more social version of the VR meeting place where Quest owners can gather, launch videos, play games and chat.

Workrooms is debuting next year and Worlds will enable people to program their own spaces to hang out in virtual reality. “Whether you’re a master creator or just starting out, learn how easy it is to build the immersive experiences that inspire,” the company says, while adding it is bringing 2D apps to the store for the first time.

It added: “Working virtually is about to get an upgrade. Multitask, check things off your to-do list and stay connected while in VR with Progressive Web Apps like Slack, Dropbox and Instagram. Plus, personalise your office environment in Horizon Home or (soon) Workrooms.”

They join the Horizon Venues (previously known as just Venues) where you’ll be able to attend entertainment events.

Messenger Audio Calls

The Facebook Messenger app is getting an upgrade within the Quest ecosystem. So, if you’re playing a game and want a friend to join you in VR. Likewise, if you’d like to stay in VR and just make a quick call without taking your headset off, you can do so via Messenger. Right now, text is the only option, which isn’t ideal.

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