The Oculus Quest made jumping into VR ridiculously simple, but playing with friends was still a bit of a chore at times. Facebook has acknowledged that problem with a very real solution that’s likely to have people cheering during their next match of Elven Assassin as they shoot alongside their friends. It all begins with the new Public Party feature, which places people in a virtual chat room to hang out and play games together. Public Parties can include up to 8 friends or complete strangers, with full voice chat capabilities.
Once you’ve joined up into a Public Party, it’s easy to pick and game and invite your friends to join along by using Travel Together. Once you’ve chosen the title to play, a notification will be sent to everyone in the group letting them know of your intentions to travel together to a game. Right now, only a handful of games employ the feature, and it’ll have to be natively implemented in individual games in order to work. The full list of supported titles includes Arizona Sunshine, Cloudlands 2, Echo VR, Eleven Table Tennis, Elven Assassin, Epic Roller Coasters, Ironlights, Multiverse, Pro Putt by Topgolf, Racket: Nx, Spaceteam VR, and Synth Riders.
Travel Together eliminates the need to go through all sorts of menus within each game just to invite your friends, and makes the entire experience a single-click effort for everyone involved. Public Parties and Travel Together are available on the Oculus platform as a whole, which means Oculus Rift and Quest headsets. Facebook has also made it easier to find friends that have an Oculus headset and play with them, thanks to some new privacy features on the platform. You can, of course, customize your privacy settings as well, just in case you don’t want someone in particular to find you while gaming.
These new features come hot on the heels of the V18 firmware rollout, which unabled the new Universal Menu for the Oculus Quest, which simplified navigation in a big way. This year has proven to be a monumental one for Oculus as the platform matures, including major features like hand tracking and pledges of big support from developers.