Virtual reality causes too much friction for too many people. An example from the Meta Quest universe.
The user experience of virtual reality is once again the subject of debate. Former Oculus CTO John Carmack addressed the issue in a recent podcast, chastising Meta for the lack of polish in the Quest user experience.
I have a recent example of a UX nightmare that made me ask an old but recurring question: Where are Meta’s VR billions really going?
There’s no harm in picking and sharing examples like this from time to time. Who knows, maybe someone at Meta will read this and start improving the user experience.
Find the movie… or at least try it
This is how the story begins: I wanted to check out one of the best VR movies for Meta Quest 2: The Soloist VR, an hour-long documentary that follows free solo climber Alex Honnold on breathtaking climbs across America and Europe.
The VR movie was funded by Meta and is only available on Meta Quest devices. It was heavily promoted by Meta when it was released.
If you have a Quest device, you can watch the movie for free on the Meta Quest TV VR app. That is, if you can find it. I couldn’t.
- I type in the search box: The Soloist VR. Meta Quest TV spits out videos of professional solo musicians.
- I type in the search box: Alex Honnold. The only remotely relevant video I see is a 2D (!) video featuring Alex Honnold.
- I type in the search box: Griffith. Jonathan Griffith Productions is the name of the production company. Again, nothing.
Well, then I search for the movie in the Meta Quest browser. Meta advertised it at the time, and I’m sure there’s a link online that lets me access the movie in Meta Quest TV.
So I do a Google search for The Soloist VR and find the official website. There I see a big blue button that says “Watch Now on Oculus TV.” Sure enough, there are the two half-hour episodes. I click on the first episode and am taken to its media page. There I have two options:
- watch later
Log in while logged in
Full of anticipation, I click on the latter, but what comes instead? A window asking me to log in with my Meta account!
I logged into a Meta account for my Meta Quest 2 and couldn’t use the device at all if that weren’t the case. Why do I have to log into my Meta account again in the Meta Quest browser?
Since I’ve spent a few hundred dollars on Quest games and don’t want to lose them, I set up a long and complicated password and two-factor authentication. To log out, I have to take off my VR headset, find my password, and then painstakingly type it into the Meta Quest browser while squinting through the gap in my nose.
Unbelievable what Meta puts you through to watch one of its best VR movies. I recorded the video above to show and illustrate the steps I went through.
By the way, this problem exists with other VR movies as well. The search function of Meta Quest TV seems to be broken. But just unusably bad.
Buy Quest 2, Quest Pro & Prescription Lenses
You can read all about the Meta Quest 2 and Meta Quest Pro in the linked reviews.
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