Mixed Reality Made Easy, Messenger Calling, Cloud Backup, and More in the Newest Oculus Software Update

Oculus Blog
November 30, 2021

Last month at Connect we announced a bunch of features coming “soon,” but what does that even mean? Well, it means now—at least in the case of Messenger Calling in VR, Cloud Backup, and customizing your surroundings in Horizon Workrooms. You’ll find all of those features in our latest v35 software update, which we’ll begin rolling out gradually starting today.

And that’s not all! The v35 update is a big one, with a new mixed reality capture option in the Oculus mobile app, among other things. You’ll find all the details below—though as always, you might not see the update on your headset immediately. We roll them out a little at a time to make sure everything works as expected, so keep an eye out!

Mobile Mixed Reality Camera

Mixed reality is one of the best ways to show off a new VR game. Check out this Beat Saber footage, for instance:

You get a great idea of what Beat Saber is all about, not just by seeing how it looks in-game but how it physically plays—and that’s what really matters in VR. Mixed reality is hard though. Note the green screens in that video. A good mixed reality setup has traditionally required specialized equipment and a bit of technical know-how.

Until now. As part of v35 we’re rolling out mobile mixed reality camera, a brand new experimental Casting capability that enables you to see, record, and share video of yourself inside your favorite VR game or app.

“But wait, didn’t you release that earlier this year?” Not quite! In May’s v29 update, we added a capability called Live Overlay, which did allow you to superimpose your real-world self over footage from the headset. Live Overlay used the headset’s perspective though, whereas mobile mixed reality camera lets you see yourself actually in the game, pulling the camera back so you can (for instance) see yourself actually dodging between bullets in Pistol Whip.

As we said, you don’t need specialized equipment to test mobile mixed reality camera. Once your Quest or Quest 2 headset is updated to v35, all you’ll need is an iPhone XS or above running iOS 11.0 or higher, and the upcoming version of the Oculus mobile app (v139). Grab a friend to make setup easier and capture footage from different angles!

Games and apps that support mobile mixed reality camera today include Beat Saber, SUPERHOT VR, Pistol Whip, Synth Riders, and more. You can find the full list of games and details on how to get set up in the support center!

Messenger Calling in VR

Our first “Connect Announcement Come True” of the day: Messenger Calling in VR. Our goal this year was to make it easier for you to communicate in VR, both with your fellow Quest-using Facebook friends and those who don’t even own a headset. We launched text-based Messenger support early in 2021, and that was a great first step—but text can be cumbersome without a keyboard nearby. It’s much easier to use your voice, right?

To that end, over the coming weeks we’ll be rolling out Messenger Calling in VR. You can keep your Quest on and jump into a call with friends on any Messenger-enabled platform, whether to tell your Onwardsquadmate to pick up the pace, or idly chat with your mom while assembling a French seaside scene in Puzzling Places.

Graduation Ceremony

Back in v26 we rolled out two key features for shared headset households: Multi-User and App Sharing. The former enabled multiple people to create accounts on the same headsets—so you could maintain your own separate friends lists, browser history, privacy settings, unlock pattern, and game progress. And App Sharing allowed secondary accounts to access games paid for by the primary account holder. Taken together, Multi-User and App Sharing meant your loved ones could finally play Beat Saber without wrecking your hard-won high scores, and without needing to buy them a second copy.

With Quest becoming a shared device for many of you, we knew these features would only grow more important over time. Today, we’re making it official and moving Multi-User and App Sharing out of the “experimental” column and into your standard Quest settings. No need to change anything on your end—if you’re already using Multi-User and App Sharing, expect everything to keep working like usual. The main difference is you’ll now need to head to your Accounts settings tab to make any future changes.

Visit our support center for more on how to enable Multi-User and App Sharing.

Cloud Backup

Game progress can be worth more than gold. When you finally push past a boss, acquire the perfect sword, or unravel a tricky puzzle, you want to know that achievement is safe. Or...saved.

At Connect we announced Cloud Backup, a new (and much simpler) system for storing your progress and settings off-headset. If you replace or upgrade your Quest, restore it to factory settings, or simply uninstall a game, you’ll be able to redownload participating games and pick up right where you left off—or at your last save, at least.

Developers can opt not to use Cloud Backup, but it will be opt-in by default and we expect that most developers will be happy to do so, as it provides major peace-of-mind to players and will make it easier for them to dip in and out of games as their libraries continue to grow. You can check whether a game supports Cloud Backup (and manage your cloud storage) here.

Cloud Backup begins rolling out today alongside v35, albeit at a slightly different (slower) pace to make sure it works correctly. Don’t worry even if you have v35 and don’t see Cloud Backup yet—we know a lot of you have been waiting for this feature, and we appreciate your patience here in the home stretch. We’ll have it out to everyone as soon as we can.

Spruce Up Your Office

We rolled out Horizon Workrooms in August and we’ve been excited to see teams making use of their space to hold meetings, brainstorm, and overcome some of the hurdles of working remote.

But every office is unique—and that should include the virtual office. As we announced at Connect, in the coming weeks we’re going to introduce the ability to customize your surroundings in Horizon Workrooms. To start with, you’ll be able to choose from multiple office environments and add your company’s logo or even decorate with custom posters.

Our vision of the metaverse is a place created and customized by the people who use it, as unique and varied as any real-world location. We want you to find spaces you feel comfortable—or make them, if they don’t exist. This is one step in that direction, the first of many, allowing companies to start building a work environment that reflects their company culture and style. Expect more additions to Horizon Workrooms in the future, and stay tuned as we begin applying these principles to other parts of the platform, including the upcoming Horizon Home.

More of Your Favorites

At Connect we talked about our long-term vision of VR as a general computing platform—more capable, more versatile, more like your phone or your laptop today. A key part of that vision is making sure you can access the same services in VR that you rely on outside of VR.

We started rolling some of those services out as 2D panel apps in Horizon Home immediately after Connect, including Facebook, Instagram, Smartsheet, and Spike. Soon we’ll add even more, with apps like MURAL, Miro, and monday.com slated to arrive on the Store in the next few weeks. And this is just the start, of course. Our goal is to make Home a hub for all your favorite services, a place where you can multitask and ultimately get more done without the space constraints of physical screens. That vision will only grow more true over time as developers ship apps to the Store using the Progressive Web App industry standard. Keep an eye out for future updates!

Public Test Channel

Want to get your hands on software versions early? We now have a Public Test Channel for Quest software releases! You’ll be able to try out upcoming Quest software before it’s ready for public release. Spots are first-come, first-serve, so what are you waiting for? Learn how to sign up here.

Note: Once you update your Quest to the Public Test Channel, you won’t be able to roll back to an earlier (more stable) software version release. You’ll need to wait until the next publicly available update if you decide to leave the Public Test Channel.

And with that, we’re done with 2021—at least as far as software updates are concerned. Thanks for helping make 2021 such an amazing year for VR and for Quest 2. It’s been incredible, and we couldn’t do it without the support of our wonderful community.

There are a few more game releases to come, including After the Fall on December 9—and then we’ll see you back here in 2022 so we can send more of those “soon” features your way!