Oculus has come a long way since its formation in 2012. After raising 2.4 million dollars on Kickstarter in 2012 the company started working on a VR headset for gaming and released its first VR headset Oculus Rift in 2016. After the release of the Development Kit for Rift Facebook acquired the company for 2 billion dollars in 2014 and in 2018 it became a division of facebook technologies. Since its acquisition by facebook Oculus has shifted from making high end headsets to making more accessible headsets.
The Quest 2 is the latest VR headset by Oculus released on 13th October 2020. This headset is an update to 2019’s Quest headset and is similar to it in many ways. Like the original Quest the Quest 2 is a standalone VR headset. The difference between the two is that the newer Quest 2 is smaller, lighter, cheaper, more powerful, and has a better screen.
The Quest 2 has a Snapdragon XR2 processor in place of a Snapdragon 835, it has 6GB of Ram instead of 4GB which makes it much more powerful. The screen is also 90Hz instead of 72Hz and has a resolution of 1832×1920 per eye which means everything will be smoother and sharper. The headset also starts from $299 instead of $399 ,it is about 70g lighter and the storage goes up to 256GB instead of only 128GB. The design has also changed a bit. The textured sides of the original Quest are removed and the color of the headset is now white.
Oculus is using what they call “Oculus Insight” for tracking which uses a series of cameras mounted on the headset to track the controllers which eliminates the need for any external tracking device. The Quest 2 uses the same system for tracking making it easier to set up and use.
The Quest 2 shows Oculus’ commitment to making VR more accessible and allowing more people to experience VR. Oculus is focusing on standalone VR experiences making VR more straightforward. Not only is the Quest 2 cheap, it also does not require an expensive PC to run it nor does it require any kind of external tracking device. All of this makes it easy to use especially for people that are new to VR.
Since the release of the original Quest the oculus ecosystem has come a long way. Now there are around 200 titles available for the Quest including Beat Saber, Population: One and
The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners. More titles will be coming in the future as more developers port their games for oculus. If you have a PC that can run VR titles Oculus Link lets you connect your Quest to your PC and play games like Half-Life: Alyx. This makes The Quest 2 a much more versatile headset that can be used for both hardcore VR gaming while connected to PC and also for casual gaming as a standalone headset.
Hardware wise the Oculus Quest 2 has some minor cons like non-rechargeable controllers, better straps and link cable not being included with the headset but other than that everything seems fine. The only problem with the software is that the Quest 2 needs a facebook account. If you have been using the original Quest you would need to merge your oculus account with your facebook account, other than that the experience is the same. Some users have had problems with this as facebook’s automated system bans accounts labeling them “Fake”. Merging Oculus with facebook has also raised some concerns regarding privacy as facebook is known for using and selling user data.
The Quest 2 costs $299 for the 64 GB version and $399 for the 256 GB version. This makes the Quest 2 one of the cheapest VR headsets currently available in the market. The elite strap costs an additional $49 while the link cable costs an additional $79 adding to the total cost.
The future of Oculus looks bright. Facebook is trying to make VR more and more accessible to people so that more people can use VR using Oculus devices. Oculus is trying to do what mobile VR has failed to do and so far it is doing a pretty good job. The Oculus platform is getting better and better and more developers are releasing their apps and games for standalone oculus devices. It seems like in the future oculus will make VR even more accessible for people and their user base will keep expanding.
At $299 the Quest 2 is a phenomenal device and might just be one of the best VR headsets available right now. If you are new to VR, or you are on a budget and cannot afford an expensive headset and a VR capable PC, or you just want a simple and easy to use VR system, the Oculus Quest 2 is a great deal. Oculus’ approach makes the Quest 2 an amazing entry-point to VR. As the founder of Oculus Palmer Luckey once said “Why shouldn’t people be able to teleport where they want to?”.