Earlier this year, Facebook-owned Oculus launched its first ever standalone headset, the $199 Oculus Go.
Based on a mobile operating system, pretty much like the Gear VR, and with only three degrees of freedom, the Oculus Go, one has to say, was pretty much limited in scope.
But yesterday (Sep. 26) – day one of the two-day Oculus Connect 5 conference being held at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in California – Oculus announced its most powerful all-in-one autonomous VR headset, yet – the Oculus Quest, previously referred to as Project Santa Cruz.
The Oculus Quest is fundamentally a Rift-compatible headset that doesn’t need to be connected to a PC to be able to play compatible games.
Like the Oculus Rift, the Oculus Quest has two motion touch controllers, capable of being tracked in space, with six degrees of freedom (DoF), all of which translates to a more immersive virtual reality experience.
Since the Quest is a standalone device there are no wires or external sensors to contend with, which means you can play games without the worry of being weighed down by all the extraneous hardware.
And, as mentioned earlier, you don’t really need a PC to run this VR contraption – thanks to the four motion control sensors, as well as a new inside-out tracking technology called Insight.
Insight uses the four ultra wide-angle sensors on the front of the headset together with computer vision algorithms to help track your position in real-time.
If you are wondering about safety issues like bumping into a wall while you’ve got the headset on, you need not worry because Oculus’ Guardian system allows you to set up virtual boundaries to let you know when you’re nearing the limit you’ve marked for yourself.
“The Oculus Guardian System is designed to display in-application wall and floor markers when users get near boundaries they defined. When the user gets too close to the edge of a boundary, translucent boundary markers are displayed in a layer that is superimposed over the game or experience,” says Oculus.
Oculus Quest, which was first announced back in 2016 under the codename Project Santa Cruz, as mentioned earlier, will ship in the Spring of 2019 with more than fifty titles available at launch.
During his keynote speech at the Oculus Connect 5, Mark Zuckerberg said that the Quest platform was going to include three key features to provide that fully-immersive virtual reality experience that gamers are always looking for in a VR headset.
“First, it needs to be standalone that way there are no wires that are going to break your feeling of presence and you’re going to be able to take it with you,” said the Facebook CEO.
“Second, it’s got to support hands because that’s how we’re going to interact with people and objects in virtual reality,” he explained.
“And third, it has to offer six degrees of freedoms so you can move through a virtual space just like you would a physical one,” he added.
Like the Oculus Go, the Quest affords 1600 x 1440 pixels of resolution per eye; however, what is not clear, as of now, is the headset’s graphics capabilities because, without the powerful GPU support of a PC, the graphics can be expected to be somewhat below par.
Another aspect – and a very important one at that – is the headset’s battery life, which we know nothing of, as of now.
It’s all very good to have an all-in-one standalone but if you have to charge the headset every now and again, then the whole purpose is killed, regardless of how immersive an experience it promises.
- Key features and specs
- Does not need to be tethered to a PC | completely wireless
- Improved touch controls
- Great optics and display
- Spatial audio | no need for headphones
- Six degrees of freedom (6 Dof)
- Insight and Guardian support
- 64 GB of storage
- Will ship with 50+ titles
- Will cost $399