With the Game Developers Conference not taking place as planned, Facebook is instead making a series of Oculus-related announcements this week through what it’s calling the Game Developers Showcase. The first big news, however, is mostly about Facebook’s own software: the Oculus Quest is getting a major UI overhaul that the company says represents “a step toward VR becoming the next computing platform.”
Right now, the Quest’s main UI involves a somewhat confusingly arranged floating menu system that appears in a virtual living room whenever you push the Oculus button. The new menu looks to be stripped down and easier to navigate, and it can also be brought up right inside apps to access system functionality without returning to the home interface.
Oculus is also adding multi-window support for the Quest, beginning with the built-in web browser. You’ll be able to open, close, and rearrange windows around you, like having three giant floating monitors — Oculus suggests, for example, watching a gameplay video in one, reading news on the next, and (of course) checking in on Facebook updates on the other. Support for other apps like the store and Chats will come later.
“The VR platform of the future must enable people to multitask easily, navigate between apps seamlessly, stay connected with others, and quite simply do more,” Facebook says in a blog post. “From gaming to media and entertainment, from social experiences to getting work done, VR as the next computing platform will support the full spectrum of uses that people expect from their devices, like phones and laptops, today.”
The Oculus Quest is primarily a self-contained games console right now, though, and Facebook is also highlighting its success in that regard. More than 20 titles have brought in over $1 million in revenue just on the Quest alone, according to the company, and 90 percent of people who started using the headset over the holidays hadn’t owned an Oculus product before. Facebook says it’s “thrilled to keep welcoming new people to VR.”
The new software updates will start rolling out this month, though you’ll have to switch them on yourself in the Experimental Features section of the settings menu to get them first.
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