VR News at Meta Connect 2022

Oculus Blog
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October 11, 2022
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Meta Quest Pro. That’s the biggest news out of today’s Connect 2022 keynote. High-end, built to help you get things done, and packed full of new technologies like full-color mixed reality that will completely change how you think about VR. Oh, and it’s releasing on October 25 for $1,499.99 USD—and pre-orders of Meta Quest Pro open today.

We have Meta Quest Pro details below, but there were a lot of other announcements in today’s keynote as well. Last year, Mark Zuckerberg laid out our vision for the metaverse—and for how we plan to work towards it over the next five to 10 years. For Connect 2022, it only made sense to update you on the progress we’ve made towards that vision over the past year and what you can expect in the near future—whether you use VR for work, for entertainment, for fitness, as a creative outlet, or all of the above.

If you’re looking for updates on Among Us VR, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners - Chapter 2: Retribution, and other games, we’ve put together a separate VR gaming recap to make it easy to browse today’s trailers.

Otherwise, keep reading for details on all of today’s VR platform announcements, from Avatars-with-legs to Meta Quest Pro to a glimpse (courtesy of Michael Abrash) of the future.

Meta Quest Pro

We’ve already spoiled the most important bit: Meta Quest Pro releases on October 25 for $1,499.99 USD.

The use of “Pro” is intentional. This is not Quest 3, though it is compatible with the existing Meta Quest library. That said, Meta Quest Pro is the first in a new line of advanced headsets, built to expand what’s possible in VR. Pancake lenses—a goal of ours for some time now—fold light over several times and let us reduce the depth of the optical module by 40% compared to Meta Quest 2, reducing the size of the overall headset while simultaneously leading to sharper and clearer visuals, including text. And at the back, our first-ever curved battery helps balance the weight of the lenses, making Quest Pro a more ergonomic headset overall.

Working in VR is also different from playing games. You don’t necessarily want or need to be sealed off from the world all day. There’s coworkers to talk to, dogs that need to be walked, documents that need to be referenced. Meta Quest Pro features a new, more open design that leaves your peripheral vision unobstructed. It’s less of a barrier between you and the world, more a part of the world around you—though you can use the included partial Light Blockers when a more immersive experience is necessary.

Full-color mixed reality also brings your surroundings into VR like never before. With high-res cameras that capture four times as many pixels as Meta Quest 2 and a depth system made to better understand the space around you, this full-color mixed reality is more than just a tool for setting up Guardian. It’s a whole new way for developers to think about blending the physical world with digital objects. Design a new car in Gravity Sketch and then see how it looks in your actual garage, or paint a masterpiece in Painting VR and hang it on your office wall.

Full-color mixed reality is powered by Presence Platform, the suite of tools we provide to developers to help them unlock the full potential of our hardware—and we think this might be one of the most revolutionary, enabling an entirely new ecosystem of experiences that we can barely imagine at the moment.

Meta Quest Pro is also the first headset we’ve built that integrates inward-facing sensors for Natural Facial Expressions and eye tracking. Raise an eyebrow, smile, or simply make eye contact with someone, and your Avatar will do the same. These new capabilities, which we’re calling Movement SDK and making available to developers, will make socializing in VR feel more natural and effortless than ever.

It’s not just the headset that’s getting an upgrade. Meta Quest Pro includes brand new controllers—and the controllers have sensors of their own, for more accurate tracking and a full 360-degree range of motion. They also include our new TruTouch Haptics, which simulate a wider range of feedback effects with more precision than before. Oh, and they’re rechargeable. Meta Quest Pro includes a dock in the box, so your headset and controllers are always charged and ready.

And while the new Meta Quest Touch Pro controllers will ship alongside the headset, they’ll also be compatible with Meta Quest 2, and sold separately starting later this year.

There’s more, believe it or not. We have a separate story on Meta Quest Pro, if you want to dig into the specs and dive deep on every new feature. But hopefully this gives you an idea of what Meta Quest Pro is all about, as we head towards that October 25 release date.

Work

Meta Quest Pro was designed with collaboration and productivity in mind and will be a major upgrade for those who use VR as a tool for work—but hardware is only part of the equation. We’re equally focused on creating software that improves the way you work and collaborate, both on Meta Quest Pro and Meta Quest 2.

To that end, we have multiple major updates coming to Meta Horizon Workrooms in the coming months.

The solo Workrooms experience is getting a major update. Congratulations, everyone is getting the proverbial corner office! We’re starting to ship personal offices in Workrooms now, meaning you can set up your space the way you’d like, with up to three massive monitors on your desk. Duck in there between meetings, when you need some extra focus, or even on the road. Eventually we think your headset will be the only monitor you need.

We’re also adding breakout groups, enabling you to seamlessly transition from large-group presentations into smaller and more intimate discussion groups, while still remaining together in the same room. It’s great for facilitating conversation and brainstorming.

For designers, architects, and others who work in three dimensions, we’re working on a way to review 3D models within Workrooms. And early in 2023, you’ll be able to join Workrooms via Zoom, enabling more options on how you choose to show up.

We’re also lowering barriers between VR and more traditional platforms. We call this project Magic Room, and it’s the future of meetings. The mixed reality experience we're building lets any mix of people—some together in a physical room and some remote—collaborate in the same physical room together. The goal is to make collaborators feel equally present in a shared space.

Here’s what the future of distributed work might look like with Magic Rooms:

And for those of you who start using Meta Quest Pro later this month, you’ll be able to unlock the full potential of Workrooms with your new hardware. We’re introducing the ability to add sticky notes to the whiteboard for brainstorming and collaborating. The included stylus tips for the new controllers give you greater precision and control for whiteboarding, while Natural Facial Expressions will let you make eye contact during a presentation—or smile as you wrap up on Friday and head into the weekend!

Microsoft Teams

We’ve also made it clear that we can’t build the metaverse alone, and nowhere is that more obvious than people’s work day. Every company works differently—and uses different tools.

To that end, we were excited that Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella joined us during Connect to announce that a new version of Microsoft Teams immersive meeting experiences is coming to Meta Quest. Teams connects hundreds of millions of people around the world and is an essential part of how they meet, call, chat, and do business. Bringing Teams to Meta Quest can enable them to work together in ways that simply aren’t possible on a 2D screen. We’re also exploring the ability to support Meta Avatars and Microsoft Avatars so you can collaborate in Teams immersive experiences.

There’s more to this announcement: Soon you’ll be able to join Teams immersive meeting experiences from inside Workrooms. We’re also bringing Microsoft Windows 365 to Meta Quest, so you can stream the Windows experience on Meta Quest Pro and Meta Quest 2 devices. Additionally, you’ll be able to access the suite of Microsoft 365 apps so you can interact with Sharepoint or Microsoft productivity apps.

Lastly, Meta Quest will support Microsoft Intune and Azure Active Directory. As companies begin integrating Meta Quest 2 and Meta Quest Pro into their day-to-day work, it’s crucial that they’re able to manage and secure their headsets with enterprise security and management.

Fitness

Who needs New Year’s resolutions? If you’re not already working out in VR, there’s no better time to get started than right now. Every month, millions of people turn to VR to get physically active using fitness apps like LES MILLS BODYCOMBAT, FitXR, and Supernatural. And people stick with it too—around 90% of paid subscriptions are still active after the first month.

On October 25, we’ll release the Meta Quest 2 Active Pack to make exercising in VR an even better experience. Available for pre-order today, the Active Pack will contain wrist straps and adjustable knuckle straps, plus a facial interface you can easily wipe down after working out. And this is just the start of a wider Made For Meta accessory program we’re launching to bring more accessories to our products, starting next year.

Tracking and sharing progress is an important motivator for many, which is why we created Meta Quest Move. But there’s more we can do to make VR a powerful fitness tool. This year, we shipped one of the features a lot of you were asking for: fitness tracking on the Meta Quest companion app and the Health app on iOS. And if you need external motivation, next year we’ll also introduce a new way to share your fitness progress with selected friends, for additional support or a bit of friendly competition.

We’re also releasing the Fitness API Beta for select developers this fall. This new API will allow people to share real-time fitness data with specific apps, potentially unlocking custom stats or new levels based on their progress.

Point being: There are a lot of new features in the pipeline, and fitness continues to be a vital part of the VR ecosystem.

Not to mention, the actual workouts keep getting better as well. Supernatural announced Knee Strikes during Connect, an explosive new way to activate your core as intensely as your arms. And if you’d like to shoot hoops without leaving home, we’ve got great news: Gym Class - Basketball VR is making the move from App Lab to the Meta Quest Store later this year. Play basketball with your friends around the world.

Meta Horizon Worlds

While there are obvious advantages to experiencing Meta Horizon Worlds via Meta Quest 2—to visiting a place in person instead of through a screen—we firmly believe that the metaverse will bridge VR headsets, phones, laptops and desktops, and even devices that don’t exist yet. At Connect today, we showed off work we’re doing to bring Worlds to other platforms, so in the future you’ll be able to pick up your phone or laptop and visit friends who are hanging out in VR and vice versa.

We’re also working to make it easier to build for Worlds. Creating a world in VR is very intuitive and we encourage people to try it out! That said, people have spent years honing their skills on very sophisticated, professional-grade tools. We’re working to add support for TypeScript, a powerful scripting language, so you’ll be able to build more dynamic and interactive worlds. And in the future you’ll be able to build stunning high-quality models in external tools like Maya, Blender, and Adobe Substance 3D, and then import your creations to Worlds to build out parts of your vision. In addition, we’re working with Epic Games to bring Creative Commons licensed content from the Sketchfab library to Horizon Worlds.

It will take a while to integrate all of these, but when we’re done Worlds will be a more powerful, detailed, and interoperable creative platform.

As we said last month, we’re also thinking a lot about what personal space means in the metaverse. We want you to have a space that is distinctly yours, that you can access no matter what device you’re using and invite friends to regardless of what device they’re using. And most importantly, it should be a space you control, so you feel the same level of comfort and safety there as you do at home in the physical world. Here’s a glimpse of what these personal spaces look like right now:

See something amazing as you’re exploring strange new worlds? We also want you to be able to document and show off your experiences in VR—as easily as you’d take a photo or video in the physical world. This is a place where Meta technologies can play a role. We’re testing a way for you to take videos in Worlds and easily share them to Instagram as a Reel.

Lastly, we announced that next year we’ll begin a multi-year collaboration with NBCUniversal, bringing iconic comedy and horror experiences into the metaverse. The Office, Blumhouse, DreamWorks, Universal Monsters, and Halloween Horror Nights will all come to Worlds, and you’ll be able to immerse yourselves in these worlds like never before via VR. You’ll also be able to catch up on your favorite NBCUniversal programming when the Peacock app comes to Meta Quest next year.

YouTube VR

We also announced new social innovations we’re working on with the YouTube VR team. YouTube is about to feel a lot more like a shared experience on the Meta Quest Platform. If you’re hanging out with friends in Meta Horizon Home, you’ll soon be able to bring up YouTube and watch videos together, just as if you were watching together in-person. (You could even grab some friends and watch the Connect keynote...)

You’ll also be able to multitask, keeping a YouTube video up while you work or browse the web in Home. Just don’t let your boss know.

And we’re working with the YouTube team to make the experience even more flexible in the future. You’ll soon be able to take your YouTube videos (via a 2D panel) into other VR apps. Imagine watching a video about the construction of Mont-Saint-Michel while simultaneously assembling it in Puzzling Places, or taking boxing lessons while playing The Thrill of the Fight—or simply watching music videos while waiting your turn in Walkabout Mini Golf.

It feels groundbreaking today, but we expect this sort of multitasking will become common in the future, and we are thrilled to have YouTube VR as an early partner along the way.

Avatars

Your avatar is you, or at least your digital representation. And that means avatars need to provide you with a vast variety of ways to express yourself in the metaverse and across Meta’s other apps. Earlier this year we launched cochlear implants, over-the-ear hearing aids, and wheelchairs, but we have more improvements coming to representation, including additional body types and shaders for more realistic skin.

What you wear is important too. Today we announced that the Meta Avatar Store is launching in VR later this year. You’ll be able to shop for virtual clothing from some of your favorite brands. We’re working with partners across sports, entertainment, and more to ensure that you can find clothes that fit your personal style. And we’re hoping that this will kickstart a marketplace for interoperable digital goods—meaning if you buy a sweater, you can wear it on your avatar no matter what app you’re using.

What else? Legs, of course. “I think everyone has been waiting for this,” Zuckerberg joked during today’s keynote. No more floating from the waist up!

It may sound like we’re just flipping a switch behind the scenes, but this took a lot of work to make happen. When your digital body renders incorrectly—in the wrong spot, for instance—it can be distracting or even disturbing, and take you out of the experience immediately. And legs are hard! If your legs are under a desk or even just behind your arms, then the headset can’t see them properly and needs to rely on prediction.

We spent a long time making sure Meta Quest 2 could accurately—and reliably—bring your legs into VR. Legs will roll out to Worlds first, so we can see how it goes. Then we’ll begin bringing legs into more experiences over time as our technology improves.

Next year we’ll also enable developers to start implementing custom avatar actions and behaviors into their games and apps.

And remember, avatars are still evolving—to be better-looking, more capable and expressive, more customizable. Our next generation of Meta Avatars, previewed today at Connect, will be more expressive and detailed than what’s available today.

Each step brings us a bit closer to photorealistic avatars. Those are still a few years off, but we’re steadily improving both the technology and our understanding of how people want to show up in VR. We’re working on AI that will design an accurate avatar for you, so you don’t need to spend time tinkering with the pieces yourself (unless you want to). In the future you might also have multiple avatars—a serious photoreal representation of yourself for work meetings, and a more cartoonish version for hanging out. You could even show up to the group hang as a movie character, or a dragon. Who’s to say?

The Future

Speaking of the future, Connect ended per-tradition with Michael Abrash, Chief Scientist of Reality Labs, showing off some of the research he and his team are conducting behind the scenes here at Meta.

The spotlight this year was on how we interact with the metaverse. In the long run, Abrash believes we’ll combine personalized AI with electromyography (or EMG) to create “the first truly human-centered interface.” You'll be able to take photos and videos (and share them), listen to music, or even take phone calls with a few subtle hand gestures—and one day you may even use EMG to access the metaverse without actually moving your hand at all. Check out the full demo below:

“This is a genuine transformation in the way we interact with the digital world, and I’m really looking forward to the day when my devices help me do what I want, in the way I want to do it,” said Abrash during Connect.

Abrash also showed off our latest progress on Codec Avatars—including Zuckerberg’s own 2.0 Codec Avatar—and some of the work his team is doing to bring real-world objects into the digital world. Building complex 3D objects is time-consuming, but in the future you’ll be able to scan something in your house and bring it straight into VR. None of the existing solutions are perfect, nor are they fast, but we’re working on it.

As Abrash said, “Everything you just saw is research—it may or may not end up in our products. But it’s definitely a glimpse of where technology’s headed.” Hope you enjoyed the annual peek-behind-the-curtain.


Thanks for tuning into Connect 2022, and for reading through our recap of today’s announcements! As we said, there’s a separate recap of today’s game trailers and announcements, if you’re looking for updates on The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners - Chapter 2 and Among Us VR.

And if you missed the live show but still want to watch it later, you can find it on the Reality Labs Facebook Page and YouTube! We’ll be back soon with more news—including the launch of Meta Quest Pro in just a few weeks. See you soon!