One of the biggest problems we had with the original Oculus Quest was how hard it was to share the device. Despite Oculus advertising it as a family device, the equivalent of a home game console, there was no operating system level feature to manage user accounts.
This meant that most games only allowed for one person to play or save their game. Unless a title built in its own multi-user support, sharing games was a non-starter. On consoles such as the PS4, however, family members can all create their own profiles and play the games purchased by the primary account holder.
It’s hard to understand how Oculus shipped the Quest without such a fundamental feature and even harder to understand why so few game developers built profiles into their apps. If I’m being cynical, it feels like an attempt to sell more units, despite the marketing. Nonetheless, it’s finally here, albeit as a beta feature.
How Multi-user Accounts Work
If you have a Quest 2 and want to try out this feature, you’ll first have to head over to the experimental features page and enable it. The account that’s already logged in (and has bought all the games and apps) is the admin account. You can’t change this without a factory reset.
Up to three additional accounts can log in with their Facebook credentials. These users can all play the games and apps that have app-sharing enabled. All new apps going forward will support app sharing, but not all apps that have already been published do. This is up to each developer.
The additional users can all buy their own apps with their accounts, but those apps are not shared between accounts on the headset.
The admin user can also be logged in to a different headset and play all their apps there while other users are using the shared headset. The only limitation is that the same account cannot be playing the same title on multiple headsets at the same time.
Sadly, it’s not possible to add local-only or guest user accounts. That’s another puzzling omission since not everyone has a FaceBook account, but then we know FaceBook’s totalitarian approach to that requirement.
Support for Quest 1 is Coming
While this is a long-awaited feature for Quest, it’s a bit sad that only Quest 2 has it at the moment. Many Quest 1 users have upgraded to the Quest 2, so setting up app sharing on the older headset for the family to use while keeping the shiny new model to yourself will be a common desire. Not to mention gaining access to the shortlist of local multiplayer Quest games. All I can say is that I hope the Quest 1 gets this feature ASAP.
Quest Needs a Family Plan
The move to enable multi-user accounts is long overdue and very welcome, but what Oculus really needs to do is introduce a family sharing plan similar to what Google and Apple offer users of their devices.
In this scenario, a certain number of people (usually six) can all register under the same family groups. All apps and games purchased by the primary member are then available to everyone in the family to use on their own hardware.
This will most likely stimulate both the sale of multiple headsets as well as encourage more local multiplayer game development for Quest. The current implementation of multi-user accounts seems a little more convoluted than it needs to be.