Facebook is currently holding their annual Connect Developer conference. During the Keynote, CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the Oculus Quest VR Headset. It’s the first Oculus-branded headset to offer a Rift-like experience while also being completely untethered.
The Future is Untethered
One theme resounded throughout Facebook’s presentation. They believe that the future of VR should be untethered. Meaning that VR shouldn’t require long cables or a PC. In Facebook’s opinion, tether cables and computers are an obstacle for many potential VR users.
While Facebook isn’t closing the door on the tethered Oculus-Rift, they are investing heavily in their untethered products. The upcoming Oculus Quest completes Facebook’s first generation of VR headsets.
Introducing Oculus Quest
Oculus Quest is built on the shoulders of both the Rift and the Go. It combines the best of each existing headset to create something new. The Rift is popular because of the quality of the experiences that it supports. In contrast, the Go is popular for it’s accessibility and portability.
The Oculus Quest began life as Project Santa Cruz. Project Santa Cruz was teased during Facebook’s Connect Developer Conference in 2016. At that time, Facebook revealed that they were working on a standalone headset that supported 6dof controls and was untethered.
Today we learned even more. Project Santa Cruz is now Oculus Quest. It is indeed the fully featured untethered product that Oculus hinted at two years ago.
Oculus Quest is completely wireless and does not require a computer. It ships with the same Touch Controllers that are currently used with the Rift. It also borrows the same screen that is featured in the Oculus Go. The Quest supports room-scale VR experiences by utilizing advanced sensors that are built right into the headset.
The headset is constantly scanning the environment to identify barriers such as walls and furniture. It uses an intelligent notification system to warn you before you run into something.
Facebook claims that the Oculus Quest is powerful enough to support experiences that were originally limited to the Oculus Rift. The idea is that you can enjoy PC graphics in VR without actually using a PC.
The Oculus Quest is set to ship in the Spring of 2019 and will cost $399. It should support around 50 titles when it releases.
Many Questions Unanswered
While we learned a bit about Facebook’s upcoming headset, we didn’t learn much that wasn’t already somewhat known. We already knew that Project Santa Cruz would be untethered and that it would support 6dof controllers. We also suspected that it would have powerful hardware that could rival or match the Rift.
Facebook didn’t talk at all about the specific hardware that is powering the Quest. They also didn’t provide any information about potential Steam VR compatibility. The presentation focused on Games that could run natively.
We know nothing about battery life, charging times, or operating system.
Is it good for VR Game Streaming?
Is this a good headset for VR Game Streaming? We’ve talked in depth about how to stream Steam VR Games to the Oculus Go. In theory, the Oculus Quest should be even better because of it’s tracking and 6dof controllers.
Unfortunately nothing was revealed today that could confirm or rule out VR Game Streaming capabilities. Facebook didn’t talk at all about the software that will power the Quest. We’ve seen signs that point to it running the same Android-based OS that powers the Oculus Go. If that’s true, then solutions like Riftcat and ALVR may work well.
There’s also a chance that Oculus could end up supporting some form of VR Streaming natively. They didn’t talk at all about potential Steam VR compatibility. Could they choose to stream from Steam to the Oculus Quest? It would be hard to imagine a system that is supposed to be like the Rift that can’t access the Rift’s biggest library of VR content. It could happen, but the headset would be much better with this sort of compatibility.
Undoubtedly Facebook will have more details to share as we get closer to 2019. The idea of the Oculus Quest is exciting, and at Flickstiq we are very interested in seeing where it goes.
Also published on Medium.
Josh is a long-time Gamer and Technology Guru. He is known for his writing and troubleshooting skills. Josh can solve just about any problem, and is especially good at getting to the bottom of technology challenges. He has a background in Networking and holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology degree. When he’s not gaming, Josh can be found blogging, testing new tech, and interacting with Flickstiq’s social media following. He lives in Ohio with his wife and children.