Our favorite change is the addition of Space Sense. If you’re worried about someone sneaking up on you while you’re in VR – or accidentally hurting a pet when they try to join in on the fun – this new feature will now warn you about their presence by highlighting them in a pinkish glow.
For now, Space Sense might not eliminate all surprises. Although, the blog post specifies players will be alerted to “large pets” and objects like chairs – if you have a smaller animal roaming around your house or a toy that’s out of place, then, you might not get the warning.
In addition to Space Sense, players who prefer using voice commands to navigate the Oculus menus will get a few more ways to interact with their VR headset. You can now pause and play media in the Oculus TV App, hide or show your Oculus Move stats, and answer basic questions using your voice – adding some much-needed functionality to the tool, however,
We’re still waiting, however, to see it used properly in more VR games – hopefully, that'll come soon. For now, you can check out the official Oculus website for a full list of official commands to see what the voice tool can do.
Android smartphone users will join those on iOS in finally being able to receive phone notifications while in VR. This feature can be set up via the Oculus App and is sure to bring peace of mind to players (us included) who can’t help but pull off their headset and pick at their phone every so often to make sure they haven't missed something important.
Last but not least, changes to the Passthrough API will allow developers to ship mixed reality experiences to Oculus Quest users, such as the Magic Keys demo that was shown off during the Meta announcement. This update marks the latest step in Meta’s metaverse plans to combine our digital and physical worlds.
Opinion: more of these updates please
For some people, these smaller updates will pale in significance to the keynote presentation, which Mark Zuckerberg gave last week, where he outlined his company’s metaverse plans that will expand on the Oculus Quest platform.
However, for us, these smaller changes to the platform are exactly what we want to see. Rather than hearing of updates to come in over a decade, we want to know how the tech we’re using is going to change today.
At the same time, the V34 update for the Oculus Quest platform is also giving us a more concrete understanding of the company's metaverse plans as we can actually try out the features for ourselves. If we’ll be spending more time in VR, safety will be key to ensure we don’t hurt ourselves or others. And the Passthrough API will bring long-awaited mixed reality content to players who can now help developers shape the experiences by giving feedback.
We’ll undoubtedly hear more about Meta’s grand metaverse plans in the years to come. But, if it wants to sell people on the idea, it needs to remember that updates like V34 will be an important tool in showing people how we can achieve its lofty end goals.
These small step updates are the equivalent of showing your math teacher how you reached the solution: if we ignore them, the end result seems like a total mystery.
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Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.