It's fashionable, and quite right, that the norm right now is not to trust Facebook and to treat anything Mark Zuckerberg is involved in with caution. Just this week both Founders of Instagram, a company bought out by Facebook in 2012, have retired from their positions within the company after reportedly years of trying to keep Instagram independent from Facebook but with Facebook integration continuing to encroach on the platform. What you can't take away from them though is how exciting their push into VR is looking.
Today they announced the Oculus Quest, a high end and standalone VR device that will not need a connected device like a PC or mobile phone to function. It will be coming with 50 titles at launch and include the touch controllers iconic to the top tier Oculus Rift device. The new Oculus Quest is going to be the companies mid-tier offering, sitting between the affordable Oculus Go model, which also is a standalone device but with a lot more limited feature set, and the PC boosted Oculus Rift. Set to debut in Spring of 2019, the device will set the average consumer back $399, or about £303 at current exchange rates. I'm willing to bet it will retail in the UK for £299.99, which puts it snugly in the middle of the Oculus catalogue with the Go which retails at £199 and the Rift at £399.
On their site, Oculus confirm where the Quest will stand in their line-up once it has launched:
Oculus Go remains the easiest and most affordable way to get into VR, while Rift leverages the power of your PC to push the limits of what’s possible. Now Oculus Quest, combines the best of both worlds and allows you to reach even more people with new innovative, immersive games.
The Oculus Quest includes the same optics as Oculus Go, incorporating an adjustable IPD slider for increased comfort. It uses 1600x1440 panels for each lens, providing a high-definition immersive experience for your games. The device comes with built in audio, similar to that provided by the Go, but with better bass performance and the return of the option to attach headphones through a 3.5mm jack for better immersion. The Quest runs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 mobile chip set and has been designed to maximize the performance of this processor, including advanced thermal venting and OS performance improvements.
My first experience with VR was Secrets of the Empire by The Void and ILM, which is the most cutting edge version of the technology currently available so how good this will seem is subjective but I'm a huge fan of the virtual reality platform and any progress into making this more attainable to the masses, more user friendly and purchasable at an affordable cost, is a huge plus. ILM have already announced a partnership with the Quest device with a new title featuring Darth Vader, which has me excited. If ILM are giving it their support it must be a big step in the right direction.
Like the Oculus Rift, the Quest will allow for a broader scale of interaction and experience, all the way up to room scale VR. The cool thing about the Quest is that this requires no external sensors which means no frustrating cable trail and no extra set-up. The Oculus Quest is boasted to have an on-board system known as Oculus Insight, a breakthrough technology that powers inside-out tracking, As you can see from the headset and the four little camera like devices, the system uses four ultra wide-angle sensors and computer vision algorithms to track your exact position in real time. This gives a more accurate read of your location and movements, resulting in better immersion and improved feedback on gestures.
What do you think of the Oculus Quest announcement? Has it swayed you over the other devices on offer in the market? What was your first and what has been your favourite experience in VR? Comment below or tweet @ghoulishent.
Founder and Writer