Technology

Oculus’ new Quest 2 VR headset starts at $299 and ships October 13th

A second-generation Oculus Quest digital actuality headset, the Quest 2, is delivery subsequent month beginning at $299. Facebook opened preorders for the Quest 2 in the present day, and it’s launching the headset on October 13th in 22 international locations. The Quest 2 will change each the unique Quest and the PC-tethered Rift S, because of the Link characteristic that lets it play PC VR video games.

Quest 2 specs and photographs have circulated widely in the past few months, and in the present day’s announcement confirms a lot of the leaked particulars. Primarily, the Quest 2 is a slimmer and lighter model of the Quest. The headset weighs in at 503 grams as a substitute of 571 grams and is barely shallower than its predecessor. It contains a comfortable material head strap as a substitute of a stiff rubber one, and it’s primarily white as a substitute of black, but it surely’s nonetheless a self-contained inside-out headset with 4 monitoring cameras mounted on the entrance, plus two black-and-white Oculus Touch movement controllers.

The unique Quest, which was already out of inventory in lots of locations, is being formally retired. Oculus will proceed to assist the Rift S and the unique Quest. For now, all new and present Quest video games will work on each generations of the headset, with no Quest 2-exclusive content material.

As earlier leaks talked about, the Quest’s internals have been refreshed. The new headset makes use of a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 chipset as a substitute of a Snapdragon 835, and it’s acquired 6GB of RAM as a substitute of 4GB. The base mannequin nonetheless has 64GB of storage, however the expanded $399 mannequin has 256GB, twice the unique Quest’s equal. The display screen’s decision is far increased: 1832 x 1920 pixels per eye as a substitute of the Quest’s 1440 x 1600 pixels. The present refresh charge remains to be a suboptimal 72Hz, however a 90Hz improve is coming after launch.

The Quest 2 comes with a sequence of non-compulsory equipment. Some are comfort- and convenience-oriented, together with customized Logitech earbuds and a plastic “Elite Strap” that gives extra head assist, bought with or with out an extra battery pack.

The $79 Link USB-C cable, nonetheless, allows a serious additional characteristic: it helps you to plug the Quest 2 right into a PC and play desktop VR video games. (You may also use the Link characteristic with a less expensive Anker cable, however the official possibility is longer and angled to suit higher in opposition to the headset.) This characteristic was added to the Quest final 12 months, however Oculus will likely be bringing it out of beta and discontinuing the Rift S within the coming months, making the Quest its solely PC VR headset possibility.

The Quest 2 is the primary headset that may controversially require a Facebook sign-in, quite than permitting customers to maintain completely separate Oculus accounts. Quest 2 product supervisor Prabhu Parthasarathy says the motivation for that is “fundamentally social,” particularly through the pandemic lockdown. “Every single social experience available on the platform has seen particular engagement in the past few months. We’ve always been thinking: what is the right moment to make our VR headsets more social? And we feel this is the right moment.”

A linked account lets Oculus customers discover Facebook associates in VR, and the corporate not too long ago expanded the beta for Horizon, a Facebook social area that runs on Oculus headsets. Features like associates lists can nonetheless be stored separate, nonetheless, and you don’t need to publicly merge your Oculus and Facebook identities.

As Road to VR has pointed out, although, Facebook account suspensions — together with these for utilizing a faux identify on Facebook — may also end in quickly dropping entry to headset options. This isn’t completely unprecedented; different gaming networks reserve the appropriate to ban folks, and Facebook may already search out and ban the Oculus accounts of main offenders. It could possibly be a selected drawback for transgender and Native American users, although, who’ve had hassle convincing Facebook they’re utilizing “real” names. (Facebook has taken some steps to mitigate this drawback.)

Facebook is outwardly nonetheless figuring out some necessary particulars. “We want to strike a balance between making sure that if somebody did something egregious and if somebody was a bad actor, that we should be able to react strongly,” Parthasarathy says. “But at the same time, we should also understand that people are committing dollars to buy your headset and content. So we want to find a balance here and we’ll have more to share as we get closer to launch.”

Parthasarathy additionally defined a couple of different design choices for the Quest 2. He says the headset’s Oculus Touch controllers nonetheless use AA batteries as a substitute of built-in rechargeable ones as a result of Oculus hasn’t discovered a seamless sufficient charging answer. “There is no really good way of charging this which is not awkward,” he says, evaluating the scenario to Apple’s notoriously problematic rechargeable Magic Mouse. “There’s definitely some day when we transition to a rechargeable battery setup. Maybe we build a dock or a stand where we can plug this in. But I don’t have something for this product right now.”

The Oculus Quest retailer remains to be going to be extremely curated, though customers can use Link to play desktop Rift video games (now merely known as “PC VR” video games, based on AR / VR product advertising and marketing head Meaghan Fitzgerald) for a wider vary of experiences. Oculus has mentioned an alternative channel to let builders share Quest apps outdoors the shop, however Fitzgerald says there’s no new data on that entrance.

Facebook Reality Labs, the new identify for Facebook’s AR / VR division, has already shared particulars about prototype mixed reality audio and smaller virtual reality glasses. With the Quest 2, although, Oculus is principally making an attempt to make a greater Quest and watch what folks do with it. “We are betting heavily on the belief that whatever worked on Quest, with a better product, with more content, with a more affordable price, should truly take this category off,” says Parthasarathy. After that, “we have a bunch of ideas and we are working, as always, on prototypes. But where things go from here, I think we’re all going to find out.”

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