Oculus is adding new social features to its headset powered by Facebook, the company said. Later this year, Oculus devices will gain new social features designed to integrate the company’s virtual reality division more closely with the core social network. The changes were announced today at the Oculus Connect developer conference in San Jose.
While inevitable, the addition of Facebook features to Oculus devices may rankle longtime Oculus fans who prefer to keep their VR gaming separate from the social network. (A Facebook login is not yet required to use Oculus.) But they illustrate the degree to which CEO Mark Zuckerberg is determined to play a leading role in the development of what he says will be the next major computing platform.
One feature coming to the headset is chats. Meaghan Fitzgerald, head of product marketing at Oculus, said users would soon be able to exchange chats from device to device. You’ll be able to message your Oculus friends both using the headset and outside of it. It was not immediately clear where else you’ll be able to message your Oculus friends.
Oculus is also getting a feature for organizing and attending events. A screenshot of the feature suggested you would be able to plan events for things happening in virtual reality and then share them with friends.
Finally, Fitzgerald said that you will soon be able to post from Oculus to Facebook. The move could encourage players to share clips of games and other VR experiences to the social network, giving free marketing to the Quest and other headsets.
The announcements were part of a set of features Oculus announced today that are designed to position it as a go-to platform for socializing. While its latest device, the Quest, is not seen as a blockbuster hit, some analysts believe it could sell 1 million units this year.