Quest 3 Augments Heavily Delayed As Meta Went "Back To The Drawing Board"

Quest 3’s Augments feature is heavily delayed as it’s being completely reworked, Meta’s CTO has confirmed.

Augments were announced at Meta Connect 2023 by Mark Zuckerberg when launching Quest 3. They were described as “persistent spatially-anchored digital objects” in your physical space. Examples shown in a library screenshot included a clock, music player, and portals to your favorite games.

Videos leaked in January revealed that Augments can have interactive elements, such as a playable miniature pinball game, an interactive calendar, and a pet-like virtual plant that can be watered.



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But in an ask-me-anything (AMA) session on Instagram yesterday, Meta’s CTO Andrew Bosworth said the originally planned technical architecture “wasn’t good enough”, so Meta went “back to the drawing” board to rebuild it “from scratch”.

Here’s Bosworth’s full statement:

“The thing we announced at Connect, we were playing with it in January and we decided it wasn’t good enough. It was too held back by some system architecture limitations that we had, 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.

And so we made a tough decision there to go back to the drawing board and basically [do a] completely different technical architecture starting from scratch, basically, including actually a much deeper set of changes to the system to enable what we want to build there.

I think we made the right call. We’re not going to ship things we’re not excited about. But it did restart the clock. And so this is going to take longer than we had hoped to deliver.

And I think it’s worthwhile, I think it’s the right call. But that’s what happened.”

The leaked videos from January revealed the original Augments architecture would use Meta Spark Studio, an application for Windows and macOS used today to make AR filters and experiences for the camera in Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger. Spark Studio supports importing and animating 3D assets, and implementing advanced functionality with JavaScript, but it seems this wasn’t suitable to deliver compelling Augments.

The “much deeper set of changes to the system” Bosworth refers to is likely referencing the “reworking” UI infrastructure he teased in a previous Instagram AMA session back in February.

Meta Is “Reworking” The 2D UI “Infrastructure” Of Quest
Meta is “reworking some of the core UI infrastructure” of Quest to improve 2D app positioning & multitasking.

Meta’s goal for Augments is likely to deliver on mixed reality apps that can run alongside each other and 2D apps like Apple Vision Pro apps can in the visionOS Shared Space. Currently 3D apps on Quest are fully siloed and cannot run alongside others, and this severely limits the platform’s multitasking potential.

The new Augments approach could be related to the new “spatial app framework” Meta announced in April. The company didn’t go into much detail about what exactly it will be, other than to say “developers will be able to use the tools they’re already familiar with to bring their mobile apps to Meta Horizon OS or to create entirely new mixed reality apps”.

Meta Working On Framework To Port 2D Apps To Horizon OS
Meta is working on a “spatial app framework” to make it easier to port existing mobile apps to Horizon OS.

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