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Meta Makes a Meta Move: Opening Up Quest OS and Embracing Collaboration in the Metaverse

By Anna Naveed


Human Resources Blog Library

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Meta's recent announcement regarding its Quest headset operating system (OS) is a bombshell for the VR industry. They're not just tweaking the software; they're throwing open the gates, licensing Horizon OS (formerly Quest OS) to other hardware makers like Lenovo and Asus. This strategic shift signals a new era of collaboration in the metaverse, with potential benefits for developers, consumers, and Meta itself.

Beyond the Walled Garden: A Quest for Openness

For years, tech giants have been criticized for creating closed ecosystems, often referred to as "walled gardens." Meta's decision to license Horizon OS breaks down this barrier. Imagine a scenario where companies like HTC and Sony also join the fray, creating a diverse range of VR hardware, all powered by Horizon OS. This not only fosters healthy competition but also expands the potential user base for VR experiences.

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats: Empowering Developers

This move isn't just about hardware. By opening up Horizon OS, Meta is creating a larger pond for developers to fish in. With a wider array of VR devices running the same OS, developers can focus on creating immersive experiences without worrying about fragmentation. This incentivizes them to invest more time and resources into VR development, ultimately leading to a richer ecosystem of VR apps and games.

The Power of Collaboration: Lessons from Unity and GitHub

Meta isn't the first tech company to embrace collaboration. Platforms like Unity, a game engine used to create VR experiences, and GitHub, a code-sharing platform for developers, have thrived by fostering open ecosystems. Developers can share resources, learn from each other, and build upon existing tools. Meta's move towards a more open Horizon OS suggests they're recognizing the power of this collaborative approach.

The Social Play: Expanding the Reach of Horizon

There's a strategic element to Meta's open-door policy. Horizon OS includes the "Horizon social layer," a virtual world akin to a mix of Roblox and The Sims. By licensing the OS, Meta essentially extends the reach of Horizon, potentially creating a network effect. The more VR devices running Horizon OS, the more users populate the social world, making it a more attractive destination. This, in turn, allows Meta to explore future monetization strategies like advertising and virtual commerce within Horizon.

The Road Ahead: Challenges and Opportunities

Meta's decision is a bold step, but it's not without challenges. Maintaining consistency across a diverse range of hardware and ensuring a smooth user experience for all will be crucial. However, if executed effectively, this open approach has the potential to propel VR technology forward, creating a more vibrant and accessible metaverse for everyone.