The latest v25 update for the Oculus Quest platform has added a whole host of much requested features. One of the biggest that will arrive this week is the addition of Facebook Messenger.
Anyone who is logged into the headset with their Facebook account will have access to the Facebook Messenger app. It operates in the same way as all other devices that use the Messenger service, you can chat with people on their phone, tablet or PC, except you will have the bragging rights by saying that you are communicating using virtual reality.
From the Oculus announcement post: “Starting this week, we will begin rolling out Messenger on Oculus to people who have logged into Quest and Quest 2 using their Facebook account. With this update, you can choose to chat with your Facebook friends anywhere they have Messenger, even if they’re not in VR. You can reach them without taking off your headset—and they can chat with you too. Write messages however you’d like, whether typing them out in VR, selecting a pre-written conversation starter, or using our voice-to-text feature. And if you’re chatting with your friends in Messenger and decide you all want to play together, you can easily create an Oculus Party so you can jump in and play the same game together.”
Despite the additional features being added to the Oculus Quest ecosystem, it doesn’t take away from the fact that they are a potentially dangerous factor in the future of VR. They have made a walled garden system. Even their new unlisted app distribution service, App Lab, still has a whole host of extra requirements that developers have to meet before it can be hosted. They have done well by reducing the price of entry for new users but they are stifling the once open and free nature of VR development.