Meta is Reportedly Working on a Tool to Let You Force Quest OS Updates via PC Tether

Meta appears to be readying a tool that will allow Quest users the ability to force software updates via a tethered connection.

XR enthusiast and serial data miner Luna uncovered existence of the tool, which is said to allow users the ability to update Quest’s operating system over USB via the “Sideload Update” option in the recovery menu.

Luna also shared a screenshot and link to an informational page detailing the ostensibly web-based update tool, which appears to be 404’ed at the time of this writing.

Image courtesy Luna

In it, the tool is said to “help fix software-related issues such as slow performance and unresponsive apps. Updating your software will not affect the data saved on your device, including app progress and settings.”

Luna also showed a screenshot of a support page detailing the software update tool, noting that users require at least 2GB of available storage on your computer, a USB-C cable that came with your headset, and a data backup of the headset.

Image courtesy Luna

The support page in question is still live, however it currently reads: “The feature may not be available at this time. Please view our help article to learn how to update your device software.”

Luna is credited for having discovered a number of Quest-related features before their official announcements over the years, most prominent of which was the release of Quest 2’s tutorial video before its official debut at Connect 2020—giving us our first confirmation of the headset’s specs.

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Provided the tool indeed releases, it’s likely to allow Quest users greater flexibility on when to download OS updates, as Meta tends to release them on a rolling basis that can lag behind in some regions.

How open the tool will be, and whether it will allow users to effectively rollback updates remains to be seen. We’ll be F5-ing those pages linked above and keeping glued to the company’s developer blog too, so make sure to check back soon.

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Immersive Puzzler ‘Infinite Inside’ to Release on Vision Pro & All Major Headsets Next Month

Maze Theory today announced that its upcoming immersive puzzle-adventure game Infinite Inside is set to arrive next month, coming to all major headsets.

Initially released as a demo on Quest earlier this year, the full game is set to arrive on July 12th across Vision Pro, Quest 2/3, Pico, SteamVR headsets and PSVR 2.

On mixed reality-supported devices (re: not PC VR or PSVR 2), Infinite Inside is said to blend VR and MR, making these “multi-dimensions a fundamental part of the storytelling and gameplay.”

Check out the trailer below:

When Infinite Inside launches next month, Maze Theory says it will feature five “peaceful and soothing labyrinths filled with mysteries,” environmental storytelling, and “challenging and accessible” puzzles.

Here’s how the studio describes the action:

When the enigmatic ancient artifact known as the ‘Plinth’ mysteriously materialises in your home, it opens a portal to a tranquil, dream-like world, filled with impossible architecture and hidden secrets waiting to be discovered. Guided by the echoes of past explorers, you will collect shards, solve three-dimensional puzzles, and assemble keys to unlock the mysteries of a secret society committed to maintaining the balance of Order and Chaos.

Can you solve the puzzles and reveal the truth about the society, the legacy of the Plinth, and ultimately, your own place in this mystical world?

Maze Theory, a subsidiary of Saltwater Games, is the London-based team behind a slew of XR games, including Peaky Blinders: The Kings Ransom, Doctor Who: The Edge of Time and Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins.

Infinite Inside marks one of Maze Theory’s (and likely the industry’s) broadest releases to date, covering nearly all major VR/MR platforms. You can find it on Steam, Quest, PSVR 2, and Pico. An App Store link for the Vision Pro version should arrive closer to launch, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled.

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New Meta Accelerator Aims to Fund Quest Developers Building ‘Lifestyle Apps’ Using MR, AI, & Hand-tracking

Meta announced a new developer accelerator aimed at kickstarting ‘Lifestyle’ apps for Quest which make use of mixed reality, AI and hand-tracking.

Meta says in the announcement selected participants of its new ‘Meta Quest Lifestyle App Accelerator’ can apply for seed-stage grant funding, as well as product resources and mentoring from Meta and participating VC partners, which include a16z, Anorak Ventures, BITKRAFT Ventures, Boost VC, and Lightspeed.

“The program focuses on fun, delightful consumer experiences with novel, engaging, and retentive mechanics that leverage the unique capabilities of Meta Quest in emerging lifestyle categories such as Fashion, Beauty, Home Design, Shopping, Cooking, DIY, Arts & Crafts, and more,” the company says.

One such example cited by Meta is Zac Reid’s PianoVision, which uses mixed reality to teach users how to play piano.

Aimed at small teams, the six-month program will include three paid milestones to help teams prototype their concepts, as well as up to three Quest 3 dev kits for teams in supported countries. Notably, selected participants will retain full ownership of their IP, code, assets, design, and distribution rights, Meta says.

“We’re looking for founders who want to build companies dedicated to MR apps in Lifestyle categories that drive engagement with Meta Quest users. Whether your company has a long track record of publishing apps or is just getting off the ground, our Meta Quest Lifestyle App Accelerator could be a great fit if you’re working on a brand-new Meta Quest lifestyle app that is big enough to be a standalone business.”

Who shouldn’t apply: companies at Series B or later, and studios marketing activations, B2B apps targeting schools or professionals, video games, media consumption, fitness & wellness, or sports. Interested teams should check out the full eligibility requirements and developer FAQ first to make sure they qualify.

Submissions are now open, with the cut-off date scheduled for October 15th, 2024. Meta will select participating teams on December 31st, 2024, with the program officially running from December 2024 to May 2025.

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Oculus Founder’s New XR Headset Built Around “military requirements” but Also “used for non-military stuff”

This week at AWE 2024, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey spoke briefly about a new XR headset he’s developing. Though the headset would see Luckey returning to the XR space, this one is being built with military, rather than consumer, uses in mind.

Luckey confirmed earlier this month that he intends to build a new XR headset, but revealed almost no details about the project.

During a panel discussion today at AWE 2024, he offered just a bit more, saying the headset’s design is “being driven by military requirements, but also going to be used for non-military stuff. It’s really cool, it’s really something.”

Though Luckey was on stage with Bigscreen Beyond creator Darshan Shankar, the two didn’t indicate any joint work together.

Luckey said he’s announcing the project now because trying to keep it secret means fewer opportunities to find key collaborators and suppliers.

His mention of the upcoming headset’s military requirements suggests the project originates from within his current company, Anduril, a tech-focused military contractor.

Although “military requirements” can often be seen as synonymous with “incredibly expensive,” Luckey has grown Anduril into a multi-billion dollar company on the premise that major military contractors charge too much and deliver more slowly than they ought too.

Considering the headset’s angle, it seems unlikely that a military-focused headset would plug into any consumer XR ecosystems like Horizon OS or SteamVR. That leaves it up in the air whether the headset will be built on a proprietary platform—and how it will support the “non-military stuff” that Luckey mentioned. Likely that “stuff” refers to enterprise-focused use-cases like training, education, and design.

Luckey founded Oculus in 2012, the company whose Rift headset was the spark that rebooted the modern era of VR. As a rapidly growing startup, Oculus attracted the attention of Meta (at the time Facebook), which acquired the company in 2014 for more than $2 billion. Luckey continued in VR under Meta’s roof for several years but was eventually pushed out of the company due to backlash to his politics. After leaving Meta, Luckey went on to found Anduril, a tech-defense startup which itself went on to achieve a multi-billion valuation. Though Luckey hasn’t been active in XR since leaving Meta, he’s continued to be looked to as a thought leader in the space.

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Meta Restructures Reality Labs to Better Focus on Ray-Ban Smartglasses and Other Wearables

Reality Labs, Meta’s XR division formed in 2020, is now being reorganized into two distinct groups, ‘Wearables’ and ‘Metaverse’, which reportedly comes along a “relatively small” number of layoffs.

As reported by The Verge’s Alex Heath, Meta CTO and head of Reality Labs Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth announced the reorg in an internal memo to employees, stating that all teams in Reality Labs are being merged into either a central ‘Metaverse’ organization, responsible for Quest, and a new ‘Wearables’ organization to dedicated to other hardware, including its Ray-Ban Meta smartglasses.

In the memo, which is available via Heath’s Command Line newsletter, Bosworth says the company’s smartglasses were “a much bigger success than we expected,” spurring the XR division to put more focus on the product.

Image courtesy Meta, Ray-Ban

“We have the leading AI device on the market right now, and we are doubling down on finding a strong product market fit for wearable Meta AI, building a business around it, and expanding the audience,” Bosworth’s memo reads. “Our north star to overlay digital content seamlessly onto the physical world remains the same, but the steps on that path just got a lot more exciting.”

Notably, Ray-Ban Meta smartglasses don’t include displays of any type, AR or otherwise, instead offering input through voice assistant and touch on the glasses’ struts for things like taking pictures, videos, and listening to music. In late 2023, Meta also added AI-powered object recognition.

As for its Quest-related efforts, Bosworth says the company is still “deeply committed to investing in Horizon as the core foundation of our social, spatial Horizon OS, and high-quality experiences for both mixed reality and mobile.”

Meta announced in April it will soon license its Horizon OS (ex-Quest OS) to third parties for the first time, including ASUS, Lenovo and Xbox. This comes part and parcel with it Horizon Store (ex-Quest Store) content library—seen as a bid to become a more prolific alternative to Apple’s Vision Pro.

“The org chart doesn’t primarily determine whether we succeed or fail, our execution does,” Bosworth said in the memo. “But by setting it up this way I hope we reduce overhead and allow people across teams to come together and execute with a more unified view of who our customers are and how we can best serve them.”

Meta declined to comment on the exact number of Reality Labs layoffs, however Heath maintains “it’s a relatively small number and focused on teams in Reality Labs where leadership roles are now redundant thanks to this new structure.”

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‘Gorilla Tag’ Has Topped $100M in Revenue, Making it One of VR’s Most Successful Games

VR studio Another Axiom today announced that its breakout title, Gorilla Tag, has surpassed $100 million in revenue. The company shared other key metrics about its player population that shine light on the state of the VR market.

Not long after its launch back in early 2021 it became clear there was something special about Gorilla Tag. It’s minimalistic ‘tag’ gameplay, unique arm-based locomotion, and novel social architecture made for simple social fun. And it turns out, people really like simple social fun.

This week the studio behind the game, Another Axiom, offered up some key metrics for Gorilla Tag that show just how large it has become. Here’s the quick and dirty:

  • $100 million in total revenue

  • 10 million lifetime players
  • 3 million monthly active users
  • 1 million daily active users

Gorilla Tag’s revenue comes primarily through in game cosmetics which allow for try-ons and a social shopping experience.

These figures make Gorilla Tag one of the most successful and most popular VR games to date. Not only are lots of people playing the game, Another Axiom also revealed the average playtime is nearly 60 minutes. That’s doubly impressive considering how physical of a game it can be.

As for what’s next? The studio isn’t leaving Gorilla Tag behind, but it’s busy at work on a spiritual successor to Lone Echo, the game which inspired Gorilla Tag’s movement in the first place.

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Quest ‘Augments’ Feature for Concurrent AR Apps Needs More Time to Cook, Says Meta CTO

Last year Meta announced the so-called Augments feature, planned for Quest 3, which would allow persistent mini AR apps to live in the world around you. Now, eight months after the headset hit store shelves, Meta’s CTO explains why the feature has yet to ship.

Augments was announced as a framework for developers to build mini AR apps that could not just live persistently in the space around you, but also run concurrently alongside each other—similar to how most apps work on Vision Pro today.

Image courtesy Meta

And though Meta had shown a glimpse of Augments in action when it was announced last year, it seems the company’s vision (and desire to market that vision) got ahead of its execution.

This week Meta CTO Andrew “Boz” Bosworth responded to a question during an Instagram Q&A about when the Augments feature would ship. He indicated the feature as initially shown wasn’t meeting the company’s expectation.

We were playing with [Augments] in January and we decided it wasn’t good enough. It was too held back by some system architecture limitations we had; it ended up feeling more like a toy and it didn’t really have the power that we think it needed to deliver on the promise of what it was.

So we made a tough decision there to go back to the drawing board, and basically [it needed] a completely different technical architecture. Starting from scratch basically. Including actually a much deeper set of changes to the system to enable what we wanted to build there. I think we made the right call—we’re not going to ship something we’re not excited about.

But it did restart the clock, and so [Augments is] going to take longer than we had hoped to deliver. I think it’s worth while, I think it’s the right call. But that’s what happened.

We’re only two-and-a-half months out from Meta Connect 2024, which would be the one-year anniversary of the Augments announcement. That’s where we likely to hear more about the feature, but at this point it’s unclear if it could ship by then.

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