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Oculus Quest Social Strategy Unclear Three Weeks Before Launch

Oculus Quest Social Strategy Unclear Three Weeks Before Launch

The Oculus Quest is less than three weeks away with its May 21 release date fast approaching. The $399 standalone VR headset allows users to freely move around their environments with complete 6DoF head tracking and positionally tracked controllers. At launch it will feature top-rated VR games such as Beat Saber and Superhot as well as new releases like Dance Central, Journey of the Gods, and more.

Facebook is marketing the Quest as a gaming-first platform, similar to the Oculus Rift, but fans of non-gaming media apps like Netflix, multi-user social hangout spaces like Oculus Rooms, or live event social apps like Oculus Venues, are left wondering about the status of those experiences.

In an interview with UploadVR last month, Chris Pruett, the Direct of Content Ecosystem at Oculus, explained the current non-game offerings included on the device as a review unit:

UploadVR: What about non-game apps? Rooms, Netflix, Venues, etc?
Chris Pruett: “You will see a browser, you will see some media apps, you’ll see a few of them in Oculus TV in the device that you get today, but not the complete lineup. We are continuing to experiment with other first party applications, so for now no Rooms and no Venues, but that’s something that we will continue to figure out how we want to do on Quest.”

UploadVR: What about Facebook Spaces?
CP: “That falls into the same group, we have a large group of people that build things like Spaces and Venues and that group continues to be building things but we aren’t ready to talk about yet.”

UploadVR: Will there be word on those things before launch?
CP: “I don’t know the answer to that.”

Based on that language it certainly seems like apps such as Rooms, Venues, Netflix, and even Spaces are being considered for Quest eventually, and may be included in the near future, but none of them are listed on the day one launch lineup published by Oculus this week. Even John Carmack is reluctant to talk about media apps.

Currently the Quest lacks any sort of default social hub. There is no customizable space like Home on Rift or Rooms on Go and you have no way of using your avatar to hang out with friends in VR other than audio chat in a party or playing games like Racket Fury and Creed together. That feels like a major missed opportunity. Granted, we are still basing impressions off of pre-release hardware, but the embargo on official reviews has lifted so I’m hesitant to pull punches if they consider it complete enough to review.

Obviously by the time Quest comes out there will be more options, such as Rec Room, Bigscreen, and VRChat, but the lack of a native social experience feels like a notable omission, as is the reluctance to talk about it.

Let us know what you think down in the comments below!

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