Oculus Quest 2 gets game-changing VR workspace app

Facebook has lifted the veil on a new Oculus Quest 2 app that allows professionals to generate a virtual meeting space.

Called Horizon Workrooms, the app aims to allow colleagues to work together through the power of virtual reality (VR), giving Oculus Quest 2 owners the opportunity to collaboratively edit documents, brainstorm ideas or simply socialize with others.

Facebook says Horizon Workrooms will work across both VR and the web, and is designed to improve a team’s ability to collaborate, communicate and connect remotely in the absence of typical office spaces.

The app will bring together features like mixed-reality desk and keyboard tracking – of the sort we’ve seen tested recently – hand tracking, remote desktop streaming, video conferencing integration, spatial audio and all-new Oculus avatars. You can check it all out in action via the video below.

It’s the first time these technologies are being brought together in a way that creates a different kind of productivity experience, Facebook says, and it could mark a game-changer for the practical applications of mixed reality technology. 

The app will launch in beta soon, with sign-up instructions available on Oculus’ official website, though it will be free to download to all Oculus Quest 2 owners worldwide when officially released.

Analysis: Practical reality 

Only weeks ago, Facebook added a new feature to Oculus Quest 2 devices allowing developers to create augmented reality (AR) experiences using the headset’s camera. 

Unsurprisingly, given that the Quest 2 is essentially a games console, the most immediate application of that technology has been in the gaming sphere. Not only have developers used the platform – called the Passthrough API Experimental – to create all-new mixed reality experiences, but some have ported existing VR games into AR, too.

Facebook’s launch of Horizon Workrooms, though, looks set to take that mixed reality experience beyond gaming and into the professional working environment. 

Given the necessity to work from home in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the app could give workers unable to venture into offices the space they need to accomplish tasks in a more collaborative – if not entirely traditional – manner.

That’s the theory, at least. It’s hard to imagine scores of city-based professionals picking up a Quest 2 headset just to high-five their co-worker’s avatar, but the promise of a hybrid approach – which will see the app work between both web and VR platforms – should ensure Facebook’s latest bright idea gets the audience it deserves.

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