Facebook’s acquisition of modern VR pioneer Oculus has always been a mind-boggling one. Naturally, the social media giant wants to leave its imprint on anything that can be remotely tied to being social, including in virtual worlds. That said, it is taking some time for Oculus to add those social features to its Quest platform, but it’s finally taking a big step forward in the latest software update that makes it almost trivial to get together with friends or strangers in multiplayer VR experiences.
Most virtual reality games and apps are naturally geared towards a solo player, primarily because of how VR systems work. That said, there is also a growing number of experiences that are better played with others, competitively or cooperatively. Getting others to play the same game, however, has always been a chore with Oculus, but that’s thankfully changing for the better.
Oculus Quest owners will have two ways to invite others to play with them. They can do so right inside a VR app that supports the invite system, allowing them to pick who to invite from right inside the VR world. Alternatively, they might find it more convenient to generate invite links from the iOS or Android mobile app that they can send to friends and strangers through the usual social networking and messaging channels.
Although it has been more than seven years since Facebook acquired Oculus, it was only earlier this year that Facebook pushed its Messenger chat platform to its VR headsets. Even then, Messenger on Oculus arrived as a pretty basic version of Messenger. It is only now, for example, that the app is getting Send and Read receipts or the ability to react to specific messages.
Going beyond social features, Oculus software v31 also adds some security features to the platform. The Browser app, in particular, will now be able to store passwords on the device, and users will be able to set an unlock pattern to protect those passwords. Support for the new invite systems will come on a per-app basis, and the Oculus software update itself will be rolling out gradually to supported Quest headsets.