Why Oculus Wants You to Share Your Account & Apps

Pass the VR, please

Key Takeaways

  • Oculus recently revealed multi-user accounts and app sharing are coming to the Quest 2 next month.
  • More exposure to VR apps and content could lead to future headset purchases by new users.
  • Experts believe these most recent updates are a way for Oculus to rebuild the trust between it and the community, while also expanding its user base.
Woman using an Oculus Quest 2 VR headset

Multi-user accounts and app sharing are coming to the Oculus Quest 2, which could help push a new surge of headset purchases in the future.

A recent update on Oculus’ development blog revealed plans for multi-user accounts and app sharing—two of the biggest features the virtual reality community has been asking for. While the idea of app sharing might not seem that important to the overall future of VR, some believe it will be a vital step in helping to expand the number of people who enjoy VR content. This could then lead to more purchases of Oculus VR devices in the future, especially as the company continues to update and expand the app sharing system.

"Think of accounts on a family computer or a games console," Rory Thomson, co-founder and developer at Pocket Sized Hands, said in an email interview with Lifewire. "It allows people to have their own save[d] data in apps and games, their own list of friends that they play with, and store content is tailored to them rather than whoever the primary account belongs to."

The Honeypot

Much like traditional gaming consoles, VR headsets like the Oculus Quest 2 can be quite expensive, with the Quest 2 itself costing $299 to purchase. That’s the same price as a regular Nintendo Switch, which is one of the most affordable gaming consoles on the market at the moment. Due to this upfront cost, plus the cost of individual applications, users in the same household are unlikely to want to purchase multiple headsets, especially if they don’t have any experience with virtual reality. 

By giving Oculus users the ability to share content between accounts, Oculus is opening the door for more people to get a taste of what virtual reality has to offer, without forcing them to spend any extra money. Think of it like seeing a new game, but not being sure you want to spend the money on it. Fortunately, your friend happens to own the game already and invites you over to try it out. You take them up on the offer and find that you enjoy it, so you end up purchasing it for yourself to play on your own hardware.

Senior man using Virtual Reality Glasses at home while his adult grandson watching him
Westend61 / Getty Images

It’s this basic "if they try it, then they might buy it" scenario that Oculus is counting on with these new updates. Something that could be pushed even further with future updates to the app sharing system. 

"Oculus has said that further down the line, they will be allowing users to enable app sharing across up to three devices," Thomson said. He continued, "at which point consumers may be inclined to purchase another headset."

It isn’t just about getting new headset purchases, though. App sharing and multi-user accounts also potentially could help content creators get more eyes on their creations, while taking away the requirement of needing their own Oculus headsets to do so. 

Carry on My Wayward Son

Since its founding in 2012, Oculus has found itself facing backlash from the community a number of times, including when the company was sold to Facebook in 2014 for $2 billion. 

Most recently, though, the VR company has found itself working overtime to make up for the decision to require all new Oculus users to have a valid Facebook account. This led to some confusion when using multiple headsets, and even some users being locked out of their new headsets back in October when the feature went live.

Thomson believes that Oculus’ big push for multi-user accounts and app sharing—as well as the planned expansions to these features later on—are all part of the company’s plan to rebuild trust with the VR community. 

"Oculus has been constantly upgrading and improving its platform based on the input and feedback of the community and developers," said Thomson. "I am confident that with the multi-user account feature, this will be the same."

Though disconnected from Facebook proper in ways, Oculus still has to answer for the decisions its parent company makes. Implementing app sharing and multi-user accounts, and even detailing ways it plans to update those in the future, is a good way for the company to start rebuilding the trust that might have been lost with any announcements or requirements of the past.

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