The Game Developers Conference (GDC) might not be taking place this week but that isn’t stopping Facebook and Oculus from rolling out the announcements. Today sees the company reveal new improvements for standalone headset Oculus Quest, with a new user interface, immersive overlays and support for multitasking.
Oculus wants the headset to be more than just a gaming platform, more akin to a laptop or smartphones which everyone uses in their everyday lives. To that end, it has redesigned Oculus Quest’s menu so that your personal dashboard is clearer and easier to navigate, accessing popular apps like Explore, Store, Browser, and TV quicker. Other enhancements to the menu include putting frequently used apps front and centre for instant access.
Then there are the new immersive overlays which allow you to access content like the dashboard whilst still in your videogame or app. Finding information like how much battery is left in your controllers or digitally adjusting the volume no longer requires going all the way home. Even more useful are the social features. The overlay will enable seamless access to functions like making a friend request, casting, or livestreaming eventually. To begin with, only WebXR apps launched from Oculus Browser will have the option because developers will need to implement support.
Lastly, there’s multitasking or more accurately multiple window support in Oculus Browser. “You can open, close, and rearrange windows from a new control box above the window. Support for multiple windows will first come to Oculus Browser, with support for more 2D apps like Chats and Store coming later,” notes the Oculus Blog.
All of these new features aren’t available right away. They’ll begin rolling out in March. Once available you can opt-in by going to the Experimental Features section in Settings and toggling the new features on.
Expect there to be lots more Oculus Quest (and Oculus Rift S) news over the next couple of days, with Oculus previously mentioning Pistol Whip, The Room VR: A Dark Matter, Lies Beneath and Phantom: Covert Ops. VRFocus will continue its coverage, of course, reporting back with all the latest news and updates.