Oculus hopes its $399 headset will bring virtual reality to the masses

Posted September 27, 2018

Today, at their Oculus Connect 5 developer conference, Facebook announced the Oculus Quest standalone VR headset.

The Oculus Quest is a standalone headset like the Oculus Go but offers a similar experience to what you'll get on the PC-tethered Oculus Rift.

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Oculus vice president Hugo Barra said Quest combined the capabilities of Rift and the portability of Go, the current headgear in the company's lineup, with a strong focus on games. However, we aren't exactly sure what hardware is powering the Oculus Quest to accomplish this.

Insight also supports multi-room guardian. The Quest is an "all-in-one" VR gaming system, and it's launching in the spring of next year, and it'll sell for $399, putting it in a very different category of the $199 Oculus Go.

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Though Australian pricing hasn't been announced yet, in U.S. dollars that's the same price as Oculus' current Rift bundle, $US100 ($138) less than a Vive, and a whopping $US400 ($551) less than a Vive Pro, and that isn't including the relatively high-end PC you'd need to power them. Avatars are being worked on, and later this year it's expected we'll see expressive avatars that have enhanced eye and mouth movements. That means no wires, no computer connectivity, and no additional components required. That's not to say it isn't fun - but from cable management to proper camera placement, there's a lot of fiddling to get right.

Mark Zuckerberg has admitted his firm's $2bn bet on virtual reality has not gone according to plan. These are more advanced than the ones packed in with the Go; while that device only had point-and-click controllers with three degrees of motion, the Quest's feature analog sticks, triggers, and six degrees of motion control. Building lower-cost headgear and focusing more on indie titles (Beat Saber, for example, is a fabulous game) may be a better way to build the nascent VR ecosystem.

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