I look forward to the connect event every year. I always enjoy seeing what is being developed for VR and AR. Meta is one of the largest companies developing for this space. This year, I can’t say I watched the event with the same amount of excitement as I normally do. It felt a bit too sales pitchy. They started off the event telling us how much money developers are making on the oculus store and this theme seemed to persist throughout the presentation. What I care most about is the social apps and hardware development. Mark spent a good portion continuing to try and convince people that VR is the future. Eventually, we got to the good stuff and he began to share updates to Horizon.
Mark listed off several successful “metaverse” apps. He finally mentioned VRChat, which was a surprise. VRChat is my favorite social VR platform and Horizon Worlds is a direct competitor. Horizon Worlds and Work Rooms does have several cool updates. Horizon will now be available through the web and people can join with a link. This exact feature is why I love Mozilla Hubs and it’s very cool that you’ll be able to do this in Horizon as well. Sharing Horizon content will be much easier when anyone can join.
Another huge update is their graphics update. Soon you’ll be able to develop worlds outside of the Horizon app, meaning creators will be able to utilize professional 3D creation software to develop content. I love hearing this, because, as a creator, I want the most amount of freedom when developing content. Being restricted to the app is why I rarely build in Horizon. They are also partnering with Epic Games to utilize Sketchfab models into Horizon.
Workrooms is partnering with Zoom, which seems like a no brainer. They are also adding private rooms for workrooms. I guess you can think of this space as a personal office. This assumes you are someone who will be using your VR headset as a monitor.
Meta Quest Pro
The biggest announcement has to be with their new headset, Meta Quest Pro. The Meta Quest Pro is a high end standalone headset. It seems to be designed for people to work in. I’m a big believer in VR and I believe that one day the VR headset will replace a lot of peoples home computers. Meta shares the same belief and the Meta Quest Pro seems to be a headset meant to do just that. Its a bit dystopian to hear the motivation behind a headset like this is for people to be able to do more work. That is part of the reason why Meta feels kind of distasteful.
The new headset is going to cost a bit more than expected. I just preordered mine for $1500. This puts it near the price range of the Simula, which is another headset that is kind of targeted the same way the Meta Quest Pro is. The Quest Pro does seems to be a big jump from their last product. The Quest Pro has upgraded processor, face tracking, and XR capabilities. It uses pancake lenses and increased pixel density. They also added a pen stylus at one end of the controllers so that you can use it as a virtual pen, which is actually pretty cool.
I’m excited to get this headset and test it out. I’ve been looking forward to it for a while.
This was very cool to see. Codec avatars are Meta’s high end hyper realistic avatars. To see avatars generated that look life like is honestly insane. One day, avatars like this will be available to use in social VR. That day is not today, but one day. For now we have to look at anime characters in VRChat, which honestly is just as good, lets be real. Meta should have gone with an anime style in Horizon, that’d make it 10x better.
The presentation was very sales pitch like. All they want to talk about is how VR is going to make people more productive and make your employees work harder. It feels a bit icky when it’s so much more than that. I’m excited for the Quest Pro and I will definitely talk about my thoughts, once I try it out.