Facebook-owned Oculus is rolling out a whole host of features to try and make the solitary experience of donning a virtual reality headset a bit more social.
Firstly, you’re now able to message friends in or outside of the headset “with quick responses to hop into games together.” To that end, you can now also create parties for friends to join – a feature that was previously invite-only.
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Oculus is also making it easier to jump into games as they’re happening. You can join friends in VR directly with links that open to where they’re virtually gathering, and you can proactively send a join link through Messenger to get Oculus friends playing too.
User-created events let you arrange meetups and multiplayer games with friends at a certain time so they won’t be forgotten. Finally, Oculus leans heavily on its parent company by letting you share videos, photos and live streams from your VR experience directly to Facebook Groups.
Given how heavily these features rely on Facebook integration, it probably won’t come as a surprise to learn that they require you to log in via Facebook. “Whether you log into Facebook or not, you’ll still maintain a separate Oculus username, profile, and your existing Oculus friends,” the company writes. “You can choose whether you want to add your Facebook friends as your Oculus friends automatically (depending on their settings), and you control who can see your Facebook real name on Oculus.”
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There is a catch if you do log in with Facebook though. Oculus data will be used by Facebook for “relevant content, including ads,” the company says: things like Oculus events, or ads for VR apps.
“If you choose not to log into Facebook on Oculus, we won’t share data with Facebook to allow third parties to target advertisements to you based on your use of the Oculus Platform,” the company adds.
Oculus says it will have more social features to share soon, including the Facebook Horizon beta and the ability to co-watch content on the Oculus Quest. Watch this space.