Oculus Quest 2 is an excellent higher portal into alternate worlds

The original Oculus Quest was one of the biggest game changers in technology when it launched in 2018: a completely wireless virtual reality headset that you can use almost anywhere with almost zero setup, coupled with a super-fast user interface, VR Immediately tear out of the realm of geekdom and make it something your grandma could enjoy. People’s first experience of visiting alternate realities was a powerful, limited kind of “oh wow, I think we’re in the future” moment that left a lasting impression.

Two years later, Oculus dropped a sequel, Quest 2. The second version was lighter and smaller than the original, offering 46 percent more processing power, 33 percent more graphics processing power, and 50 percent more RAM, more sensitive controllers, a higher resolution image in each Eye, faster frame rates and better battery life.

What’s more, the price kind of dropped a hundred dollars; The 64GB version is only $ 299 and the 256GB version is $ 399. You could call this type of pricing a brutally anti-competitive loss leader designed to wipe out competition while it’s still in the womb, or you could call it a killer deal – either way, this headset lowers another barrier to entry into the, um , “Search” for virtual reality for the masses.

The Oculus Quest 2 headset and controllers


So how is it to be used? In all honesty, I wouldn’t say it’s that different from the original. Everything is a little bit better, but it’s the same standout concept executed just as tightly but a bit smoothed with some edges from the first quest. Much of this is due to the fact that there is still virtually no content that was developed exclusively for Quest 2.

Instead, you’ll watch the same games, just with slightly improved graphics. Better lighting, more detail in the textures, additional particle effects – the kind of things PC gamers add and remove with switches and sliders while compulsively trying to justify buying their newest, wildly expensive graphics card or multi-colored LED water cooling jacket . Do they improve the experience? Sure, but to be honest, my disbelief was gone, and much of the current Quest content is still a bit of a Playstation 3 in the graphics department.

Star Wars: Tales from the Edge of the Galaxy – Official Trailer

There are certainly games out there that feel like they want to make the most of Quest 2’s capabilities, particularly Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge, which take up a few tiers in terms of size, environments, effects, and details. Positional audio also deserves a reputation, a lot of these games sound pretty incredible.

In fact, it gets pretty awesome what developers can squeeze out of a device that is light enough to be head-tied. In addition to rendering 1,832 x 1,920 pixels per eye in stereo vision, data streams are constantly interpreted by four built-in cameras and a battalion of sensors to track your movement in space and instantly update the view whenever you turn or move your head. It also tracks your hands and some apps now allow you to completely drop the controllers and interact with the world you are in with a terrifyingly accurate set of virtual hands.

If you want to experience the very top of VR gaming with things like Half-Life: Alyx, the Quest 2 doesn’t have the grunt to do it natively. However, if you have a juiced gaming PC, you can plug it into the headset with a cable and play more or less everything so that this is a single headset that does them all.

One thing this device really has to do with is a wider field of view. Oculus doesn’t quote any numbers for this, but YouTubers measured it to be a bit narrower than the original Quest, and you’ll certainly briefly feel like you’re viewing the virtual world through a tube when you put it on. That feeling goes away, but it can definitely improve to heighten the already amazing feeling of immersion.

Venues (Beta Early Access) | Oculus Quest platform

Facebook is starting to push the quest forward as a social platform, and so during my time with the headset I spent quite a bit of time using it as such. For example, the beta version of the Venues app lets you create an avatar and then head into a large meeting room to chat with strangers, throw high fives around, and try out a range of entertainment options like stand-up comedy and MMA fights, documentaries, something like that. The Quest 2 has a built-in microphone so you can chat with each other naturally in these situations. It even moves your mouth appropriately to figure out when you are laughing and lets your avatar do the same.

Well, these rooms don’t seem to inspire the greatest conversations I’ve had in my life. They remind me of the early days of the ICQ chance chat when I want to go on a terrible date. That said, for any reasonably engaging conversation, a different guy will jump around screaming, two stoners using their virtual hands to harass themselves or others, a bunch of confused six-year-olds who can’t figure out what the buttons are doing, and a guy who yells at his roommate. You can block people, but it’s still not a welcoming place for women and it’s still a wild west.

Even so, the technology itself feels very promising, and I can definitely see how VR meeting rooms will be productive and helpful teleworking tools over time. It is different from a zoom chat. You physically feel there and can fall into groups for semi-private discussions just like you would personally.

In order for a system like this to become a must-have device invading every home, you need content. To convince studios to invest in content, you need a large user base ready to buy it. Facebook’s decision to rate the Quest 2 so crazy low is paying off in terms of acceptance. Digital Bodies reports that it is selling five times faster than the original Quest, and Superdata is forecasting three million more sales in 2021.

The controllers are updated for additional sensitivity

The controllers are updated for additional sensitivity

Cheng Aleng / New Atlas

The team seems to be working hard to keep the Oculus store fresh and vibrant, with regular discounts and lots of free content. New games are popping up regularly and the quality of the experiences available is increasing. The two best-selling games that people actually pay for are still Beat Saber and Superhot, but there are now some nice multiplayer shooters like Onward and Population: One in the List, a single-player AAA-style horror game in The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners, a really brilliant multiplayer ping pong game in Eleven Table Tennis and a futuristic full contact jetpack Frisbee golf game with zero gravity in Echo VR.

Video-only content seems to accelerate a little slower. The adult entertainment industry pulls more than its weight in this regard, as if these guys weren’t pulling hard enough already. The VR area of ​​YouTube offers you many travel and extreme sports experiences, one or two music videos and a thousand roller coasters. People are experimenting with ways to use this insanely immersive format to achieve more, but it still feels embryonic.

I still don’t have a stomach for a lot of exercise experience; My brain accepts these new realities without question, and the lack of proprioceptive feedback when I move makes me sweaty and seasick in my stomach. But I’ve come to believe that over time you can get a stronger stomach, and I’m sure VR will be a far better gaming platform than consoles, PCs, or screens. So maybe it’s worth working on.

In conclusion, the Oculus Quest 2 is the best (in fact, perhaps the only) standalone VR headset out there, improving it in just about every way imaginable while making it much more affordable. It’s a perspective-changing device and an extraordinary experience, a transcendent piece of consumer technology that will blow you and anyone you want to show off. However, if I own a first generation Quest, I wouldn’t rush to upgrade until there is a decent amount of exclusive Quest 2 games and experiences, as the original device is probably 85 percent as impressive with the current content .

Enjoy a video below, but be aware that some of the games featured in this video don’t look as good on Quest 2 just yet, and others (like Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond) don’t work at all without a PC doing the grunt work. This is a little bit insincere in my book, but it does give you an idea of ​​the types of experiences you can enjoy.

Oculus Quest 2: Getting Started

Source: Oculus

Comments are closed.