A new GamesBeat event is around the corner! Learn more about what comes next.
In his talk at Facebook Connect on Wednesday, Carmack touched on the problems Facebook had experienced keeping the Oculus Quest headset in stock this year, even before the pandemic began. But going a step further, he also expressed disappointment at the company’s lack of social apps that could have helped friends and family meet in VR while they couldn’t see each other in real life.
“But worse, all of our social experiences were basically killed or deprecated,” Carmack began. “We had Rooms, Spaces, co-watching, and all those are gone. Venues has been in maintenance mode for this entire time. So we made this huge bet on Horizon, and we’ve had all these people working on it, and you’re seeing some of the fruits of that finally with the Venues 2.0 now.
“But basically, we weren’t ready.”
Three top investment pros open up about what it takes to get your video game funded.
As Carmack alluded to, Facebook’s previous social VR efforts like Oculus Rooms, which let users meet up to watch TV and play board games; or Spaces, an app that saw Facebook friends meet up to hang out, are gone. Facebook Horizon was revealed at last year’s Oculus Connect with a promise of a spring 2020 beta, but it is only now just rolling out to a limited number of users.
“We had all this effort going into it,” Carmack continued. “We had let the previous products more or less rot or go away, and I made a pitch that, ‘Well, can’t we just resurrect Rooms for this time?’ Rooms for the pandemic, here.”
But according to Carmack, Facebook wasn’t interested in the idea while it was working on new social VR offerings.
“We could have run it, but nobody wanted to basically stop the scheduled things and everything that was already planned for this time to go work on something like that, so frankly, I’m kind of embarrassed about our social story here,” he said. “But thankfully, the slack’s been picked up by a lot of third parties, and I frankly envy the learnings that they’re getting out of all this where we see the numbers and we see lots of time spent in these.”
He concluded, adding that he expects Facebook to start making those learnings on its own now that people were coming into Horizons. All-in-all it’s a typically frank comment from the former full-time Oculus CTO, who last year went part-time to work on AI too.
With today’s announcement of the Oculus Quest 2, we’ll no doubt see Facebook pushing its social VR apps like Horizon and the rebooted Venues much more heavily.
This story originally appeared on Uploadvr.com. Copyright 2020
GamesBeatGamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. How will you do that? Membership includes access to:
- Newsletters, such as DeanBeat
- The wonderful, educational, and fun speakers at our events
- Networking opportunities
- Special members-only interviews, chats, and "open office" events with GamesBeat staff
- Chatting with community members, GamesBeat staff, and other guests in our Discord
- And maybe even a fun prize or two
- Introductions to like-minded parties