Oculus has announced its new headset, the Oculus Quest: a $399 standalone virtual reality headset that’s launching in the spring of 2019. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that “with Oculus Quest, we will complete our first generation of Oculus products.” Zuckerberg says that the Oculus Quest combines “the key attributes of the ideal VR system” — a wireless design, virtual hand controllers, and full positional tracking. “If we can bring these three qualities together in one product, we think that will be the foundation of a new generation of VR.”
The Oculus Quest is a consumer version of what was previously known as Project Santa Cruz. It uses motion controllers similar to Oculus Touch, and four wide-angle cameras provide positional tracking that lets people walk through virtual space. It’s supposed to support “Rift-quality” experiences, with a starting catalog of over 50 titles, including well-known existing games like climbing simulator The Climb and adventure-puzzle game Moss. Oculus VR head Hugo Barra describes the Oculus Quest as “made for games,” distinguishing it from Oculus’ other, more video-focused mobile headsets. “We are going to invest significantly in this new platform,” he says.
Oculus Quest essentially combines the high-end, tethered Oculus Rift headset with the relatively cheap, standalone Oculus Go device that was released earlier this year. It uses the same optics as the Oculus Go, with a resolution of 1600 x 1440 per eye, but with the option to adjust lens spacing. Also like the Oculus Go, the Oculus Quest includes built-in speakers that pipe sound into users’ ears, but supposedly with improved bass.
But unlike the Oculus Go, you can walk around, apparently for large distances. Barra describes it as having “arena-scale” tracking that supports at least 4,000 square feet of space. Its controllers have the same button layout as the Rift’s Touch controllers, but with the half-moon tracking ring reversed, so it loops above your hands instead of below them.
We don’t know exactly how powerful the Oculus Quest will be, but Barra promises that porting games from the high-end Oculus Rift to Oculus Quest (or vice versa) will be easy. We’ll be learning more later today at the Oculus Connect developer conference.
Correction: The tracking range is 4,000, not 400, as originally printed.