Last year Meta announced that it would finally be bring social features to the Quest home environments, allowing users to easily get together in the same virtual space. We aren’t there yet, but the company has taken a first step in that direction by adding node-based locomotion to all of Quest’s home spaces.

Back in October Meta announced that it “soon” planned to upgrade Quest’s home space into a social area where users can congregate together (without a third-party app) and do basic activities like watch videos and launch into other VR apps together. The company calls it ‘Horizon Home’.

Well, the actual social part of Horizon Home isn’t here yet, but the company has taken a first step toward it.

At launch, all Quest home spaces placed the user in one specific spot from which they couldn’t move.

Now, as of at least Quest v38, all home spaces have an array of nodes which users can move between by pointing their controller and using the thumbstick. Moving between nodes with controllerless hand-tracking alone doesn’t seem to work yet.

Ostensibly this will allow multiple users to navigate the same spaces. It isn’t clear how many users will be supported in a single Quest home space (though voice parties currently support up to 8 people).

Quest’s home environments appear to be using typical real-time rendering, so it isn’t clear why Meta has decided to limit users to moving between specific nodes rather than letting them move anywhere within a pre-determined safe area. Especially odd because users can navigate away from any individual node by physically moving within their playspace. Furthermore, the distance between nodes is decidedly ‘impersonal’, and further away than friends hanging out in the same area would likely want to stand.

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So while movement within the Quest home spaces is a first step toward social features, it will hopefully see some refinement by the time users are actually able to join each other in the same space.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • guest

    Distance is impersonal because that company “impersonates” your friends they think you have not seen in person for a while. Keep that in mind whenever a so-called friend ever recommends a product or service. Do a screencap and send it to your friend and you will be amazed how often this is going on!

    • VR5

      Social VR has been getting a fair amount of bad press because of people violating other users’ personal space. Having a default save distance from each other and requiring players to consciously move physically is making VR socializing closer to real life socializing. Stick locomotion being unnatural movement makes it much more likely that you accidentally move into people’s personal space too.

  • VR5

    Distance between nodes is taking room scale movement into account I think. Since the point is to avoid users being in the same spot. You can get close or keep your distance by moving physically.

    The grid immediately reminded me of Bigscreen. Of course there the nodes are closer to each other and aligned with seats, since Bigscreen assumes you will watch seated. Maybe Oculus Home will have closer nodes on the virtual couch? Might be a challenge to align different people’s couches though, as they align with physical couches.

  • Ragbone

    A bit late lol, they must have an extremely small development team.

    • VR5

      I assume this is meant to be sarcastic.

      The home environment so far was mostly for flavor/atmosphere. You could move around with room scale and depending on your guardian size that meant you could go into the far corners of an environment.

      Now that they’re adding co-presence to these, this less intuitive, unnatural movement option is being added so users can position themselves relative to each other beyond the limitation of their guardian space.

      It simply wasn’t necessary without the upcoming social feature.

      • Ragbone

        Nope, it has been out for ages and is as half arsed as the oculus cv home. Waiting till now to add co-presence lol.

        • VR5

          So you weren’t sarcastic when you guessed their dev team is small? Because that is obviously not true.

          Does any home environment for any VR HMD have co-presence yet?

          I don’t think the Quest home environment was incomplete; it’s just there so you don’t float in empty space before you start the app you actually want to play.

          • Arturs Gerskovics

            My Steam VR home is full with stuff and we hang out there often. Quest home is pathetic but some places are actually good looking. My favourite is some Japanese style houses with fish pond. Not being able to freely move around is strange tbh

          • VR5

            So Steam VR has co-presence. I wasn’t sure.

            Obviously the Quest home was less ambitious than PC environments because of hardware limitations. But it makes sense to enable social features right there when you start up the headset so they’re adding it now.

            Node based movement, which of course only has been added now, isn’t all bad I think. I explained in other replies here why I think it’s better than smooth locomotion for socializing.

          • Ragbone

            Yeah there are so many features i would add if iwas making it, and games and things people could play together like chess etc. And free movement and things. So much potential but the company never seems to be keen on adding any nice features.

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          • Ragbone

            Me love you long time. Sucky sucky.

          • Ragbone

            Like i replied, it was not sarcasm. I guessed the dev team are small as the company have money and the quest home is still shit after all the time its been out.
            No idea about other environments but you can probably google it.

          • VR5

            The dev team is certainly not small, they just have different priorities. Clearly they put their effort towards social features into their Horizon app lineup first and only started to bring that to Home (which now also becomes part of the Horizon line) after users clamored for it. So they’re reacting rather than anticipating in this instance.

            Social features aren’t the only things the dev team tackle either, as we’ve seen with frequent updates they added a wealth of other features to the Quest since launch.

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          • alxslr

            He’s right. CV1 was released 6 years ago. Cmon!

          • VR5

            Oculus Home on PC has had teleportation movement (without nodes) for a long time. It also had co-presence with friends 3 years ago already (found on reddit: how_do_we_join_friends_in_oculus_home). It seems it basically has parity with Steam VR Home.

  • Honestly, why can’t I just free move and snap turn? If you need to build in some boundaries in the models that I can’t move past then do so, but let me move around properly. I’ve never like node-based movement.

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