Oculus released a platform update this week to its Rift headset that caters to fans of social VR. How? By introducing Facebook live-streaming and a Public Homes feature that lets Rift owners invite other VR enthusiasts into their virtual abodes.
Streaming a VR experience to Facebook is easy—just like you’d expect it to be given that one company owns the other—after this update. Oculus said that all you have to do is open the Dash Menu, hit the Livestream to Facebook button and then continue making your way through your VR experience of choice. The feature won’t work in all experiences, but Oculus claimed that “hundreds” already support Facebook streaming.
This live-streaming feature could prove to be important to proving that Facebook’s bet on VR as the future of computing wasn’t a bust. Being able to stream the actual VR experience could help convert people to the technology.
The other new feature, Public Homes, is preaching to the choir. It does exactly what you’d expect: allow you to let other Rift owners visit the virtual Home you’ve built with Oculus’ platform. You could previously only invite friends to your Home; now you can make it part of a new public directory. Oculus compared the feature to an open house, with the key difference being that you’re just showing off, not selling real (in a way) estate.
Public Homes does have tools to help weed out the riff-raff, though, as Oculus explained in its announcement:
“The Public Homes beta comes with a suite of tools to ensure your safety and privacy. As host, you have full control over the guest list: you can accept or decline any request to see your place, and you can disable the ‘Public’ option at any time. You can also report abusive behavior, mute visitors, and more, from inside the Rift headset.”
As you may have guessed from the above, Public Homes isn’t currently available to all Rift owners. Oculus is still working on the service—likely to solve any lingering technical hiccups—so right now it’s only available via the Public Test Channel. But the company expects to release Public Homes to everyone “later this month.”