Up to this point, there were really two ways to experience virtual reality at home. You could either spend big on a system, like Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, which requires you to have, in addition to the headset, a powerful computer and room enough to place external sensors around your room. Or you could buy a relatively cheap headset, like a Daydream View and a Samsung Gear VR, that latches onto your smartphone. The Oculus Go, which was released in the past year, was more of the latter. Even if it didn’t rely on a smartphone, it was affordable and super portable, and its graphics and game selection were okay.
Now Facebook-owned Oculus has announced another VR headset, the Oculus Quest, and it’s pretty different. More accurately, it feels more like a middle ground between the ultra high-end Rift and the entry-level Go headsets.
Like the Oculus Go, the new Oculus Quest is a portable VR headset. There’s no computer or console that you’re tethered to, and thus there are no wires so it’ll theoretically give you a greater sense of freedom. And it’s also relatively affordable, starting at $399 for a 64GB model. But that’s where the similarities to the Go end.
In reality, the Oculus Quest is more similar to the Oculus Rift. It plays Rift-style games. It utilizes Touch controllers. And it offers six degrees of freedom, instead of the Go’s three degrees of freedom, meaning it’s able to track your motion better, enabling you to do things like peek around corners or crouch behind objects. Additionally, the Oculus has a display resolution of 1600×1440 per eye, and it has built-in audio to further the immersive feel.
A few years ago, if you were to imagine what consumer VR was going to look like, this seems pretty close to it. There are some concerns, however, as we’re not entirely sure about the battery life. And like all gaming consoles, the Oculus Quest’s success will really depend on its game selection.
At launch, there will around 50 games that you can play with the Quest, including titles like Robo Recall (a shooting game), The Climb (a climbing simulator) and Moss (an action-adventure puzzle game).
For anybody who is actually into virtual reality and wants something serious without a serious setup process (and expense), the Oculus Quest looks like a pretty legit option. Oculus says that it will be available in Spring 2019, and they’ll release more info (hopefully more games and specs) in the near future.