New Facebook’s VR Headset Brings Virtual Reality Closer, But Not There Yet

Madhavacharta Dhebar - Oct 11, 2018


New Facebook’s VR Headset Brings Virtual Reality Closer, But Not There Yet

Oculus Quest, the first standalone VR headset of Facebook was revealed in September 2018.

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One of Oculus Quest’s early versions demoed at Facebook Oculus Connect.

Last Tuesday, Facebook held a big virtual reality conference called Oculus Connect in San Jose, California. People who attended the conference had the opportunity to try out Facebook’s latest virtual reality headset provided by the Silicon Valley tech giant. The headset named Oculus Quest is planned to officially be released in spring 2019. A series of demos were shown for the attendees to test this new Facebook’s product.

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The Oculus Quest headset appeared in Facebook Oculus Connect.

Designed to be not only a completely standalone virtual reality headset, but also a device being able to track location in the real world of users, the Oculus Quest will help you no longer have to rely on any external sensors or carry any computers on your back for the headset to be used.

The Business Insider claimed the headset was a big step tot he future that VR booster that completely immersive virtual environments that can be accessed via a simple headset. However, they also admitted that the Facebook’s latest headset is still having some visible technical shortcomings.

One of the demos appeared in the conference along with the headset is Project Tennis Scramble. It’s a game that let players join in a tennis game and play in virtual reality against another opponent, who also comes from the real world. Players trying the game with the Oculus Quest reported that the headset is quite heavy while wearing to play. Its motion-sensitive hand controllers also had difficulty in returning the ball to the user’s intended direction.

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Players trying out the Oculus Quest’ virtual reality tennis demo at Facebook Oculus Connect.

Another demo, Dead & Buried, was also brought to the event. Being a multiplayer shooter game where players are divided into teams of three and fight against each other with real-world obstacles placed as crates and pillars in the virtual world, Dead & Buried has an impressive play area as 4,000 square foot arena. Real-world objects has brought to players the sensation of the virtual pillars and crates in the game smoothly. The standalone feature of Oculus Quest also made players feel comfortable during their play without stepping on any wire or bumping into any equipment.

This experience is in contrast with the older one named Oculus Rift which had to be connected to an external computer through cables. During demos of that product, Oculus employees had to follow players to hold the cables for them in order not to see attendees being tangled in their wires.

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Oculus employees assist players using Oculus Rift at Facebook Oculus Connect.

The Oculus Quest overall has made a big step forward in the virtual reality technology compared to its sibling Oculus Go, which is also a standalone but not able to provide users sensation of position and motions. However, as stated before, many imperfections are remaining included in the headset design. Its heavy weight is a big obstacle. Virtual objects closed to players are also hard to be focused on. Finally, people are doubting whether the using quality of Oculus Quest will stay the same as it was in the demo conference when it is brought to their homes.

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Attendees playing Oculus Quest’s Dead & Buried demo at Facebook Oculus Connect.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said on the keynote event last Wednesday that 10 million is the number of VR platform users the headset needs to continue being build and develop. On the contrary, Business Insider reported that another representative of Facebook has given them a different response. He claimed the number Mark said is not Oculus Quest official sales target. The headset is still on its track being decided to become a big commercial success or not.

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