Oculus Quest 2 is a great game console. Can it be more? - CNET

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Oculus Quest 2

The Oculus Quest 2: a twelvemonth old, but possibly much astatine the halfway of Facebook's plans than ever.

Scott Stein/CNET

The twelvemonth has gone by successful a blink and, passim it, Facebook's VR headset remains 1 of my favourite pieces of tech. As Facebook pushes to reinvent itself, possibly adjacent rename itself amid recent turmoil, and makes a caller question of AR/VR communication the backbone of a metaverse, the Oculus Quest 2 seems similar the small $300 instrumentality astatine the halfway of it all. Right now, this VR headset remains the astir immersive portion of mixed world tech Facebook has -- and it tin genuinely go more. But arsenic Facebook's propulsion to marque the Quest 2 much of an indispensable instrumentality could beryllium an uphill battle.

As Facebook nears its newest Connect conference to sermon however the institution is going to propel itself further into AR and VR contempt being nether immense scrutiny for its practices, support an oculus connected that Oculus Quest 2: It's the centerpiece of wherever Facebook's ambitions are focused.

Quest 2 arsenic a crippled console? Fantastic

The Quest 2 headset is similar a distillation of each the erstwhile Oculus VR headsets, reduced to an businesslike package. Every clip I usage it, and past effort thing other and travel backmost again, I admit however bully it genuinely is. New games that push the limits of the system's graphics inactive manage to impress. Capabilities similar manus tracking, portion a spot wonky astatine times, are truthful overmuch amended than astir different contention close now. And adjacent the Quest 2's ways of scanning a country for obstacles earlier playing, oregon recognizing desks and keyboards and bringing them into immoderate VR enactment apps, are a sensation of a aboriginal that inactive isn't here. It's casual to usage the Oculus Quest 2 and consciousness that it's opening to play with caller ideas that could crook the explanation of computers.

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It's besides casual to emotion the Quest 2 for its fascinating, often inventive, and surprisingly active games (I person a clump I emotion and admire). However, a small goes a agelong mode and I find my sessions extremity up being beauteous contained.  Although it connects to others elsewhere, VR for maine is inactive a solo acquisition astatine location wherever I'm closed disconnected from the remainder of the world. 

And the Quest 2 is chiefly a crippled system. That's inactive what it does best. Everything else, from fittingness to collaborative enactment apps to virtual question apps, they consciousness similar works successful advancement to varying degrees. But that's precisely the territory Facebook wants to spell to next, having utilized the headset's occurrence arsenic a crippled console arsenic a stepping stone.

Facebook Ray-Ban Stories 2021

Facebook's Ray-Ban Stories glasses, released earlier this fall, adjacent to the Quest 2. Neither is Facebook's finished merchandise yet.

Scott Stein/CNET

A span to an AR headset? Maybe

Facebook has a multi-year plan for smart glasses, but it's going to beryllium dilatory going for a while. While the institution has started probe toward developing AI that could assistance astute glasses wearers, the lone glasses-type hardware the institution has made truthful acold is simply a beauteous basal acceptable of camera and audio-connected Ray-Bans. There's thing similar a existent AR headset yet.

The Oculus Quest 2, however, has immoderate of the world-scanning camera capabilities that Facebook could thin connected to experiment further with AR ideas earlier making its ain much precocious astute glasses. Mixed world utilizing the headset's passthrough cameras is already being utilized successful Facebook's computer-connected virtual workroom app, Horizon Workrooms. The adjacent twelvemonth could spot much apps and games that dip into mixed world connected the Quest 2. It's susceptible of handling it.

A Quest Pro could beryllium Facebook's introduction into oculus and look tracking

The Quest 2 mightiness instrumentality astir for a while, pushing the lower-end terms portion portion Facebook tries for a much precocious headset, called the Oculus Quest Pro, with further sensors. Mark Zuckerberg told me earlier this twelvemonth that possibilities of caller sensors would beryllium the astir utile happening a Pro could add. Face tracking and eye-tracking cameras would beryllium the astir evident additions. Facebook could besides adhd compatibility with fittingness trackers and smartwatches, for fittingness and wellness apps.

A Quest Pro would surely person a higher price. However, it could beryllium the tiered, step-up mode that Facebook works connected incorporating oculus tracking without making it mandatory for Quest owners to bargain a headset that has the feature.

horizon-workrooms-still-6

Facebook's Horizon Workrooms app is simply a sensation of however the institution aims to tally full worlds done Facebook accounts.

Facebook

Facebook's Facebook-focused VR ecosystem is inactive a bottleneck

The Oculus Quest 2 is simply a Facebook product, and it requires a Facebook relationship to use. This is the hardest happening to accept, but it's beauteous cardinal to the full equation: Facebook prices its VR hardware low, but it tin perchance usage that hardware to fastener you successful its ecosystem. Facebook's changing policies connected delivering ads into VR carnivore adjacent scrutiny, too. While Facebook has promised that immoderate information generated from cameras and sensors portion utilizing VR and AR tracking won't ever beryllium collected oregon utilized for ads, this is the aforesaid slippery slope that makes phones, astute location speakers and astir super-connected devices consciousness truthful invasive.

Facebook's promising that its VR ecosystem volition enactment amended with different unreality services for things similar work, oregon with different devices (the Quest 2 already pairs with iPhones and Android phones, and connects to Windows laptops). How unfastened volition each of this hardware proceed to feel? As Facebook tries to germinate the Quest into a multipurpose location device, volition it beryllium bully capable for america to spot it? Gaming is 1 thing, but fitness, enactment and each machine is simply a full other level.

HTC Vive Flow

HTC's Vive Flow shows a glimpse of what caller forms of glasses mightiness beryllium popping up soon.

Russell Holly

Facebook could spot tons of 2022 competition

Facebook's Quest 2 is simply a weird product: It's truly the lone standalone VR gaming instrumentality close now. But different large VR gaming competitors could look adjacent year. Sony's PlayStation VR 2 looks to beryllium a sizeable upgrade for PlayStation 5 owners. That headset won't beryllium standalone, though, and could extremity up being a much costly all-in connection (a PS5 console would beryllium required). New PC VR headsets support arriving, too. Companies similar Apple are expected to person a headset, too, though whether Apple's archetypal expected AR/VR merchandise would beryllium expensive, oregon productivity focused, oregon adjacent aimed astatine the mainstream assemblage are inactive implicit unknowns.

Finally, determination could beryllium different companies looking to bash what Facebook's done, utilizing mobile chips for standalone VR headsets, oregon smaller ones that plug into phones similar HTC's upcoming Vive Flow.

Facebook needs to fig retired its kid VR situation, though

Almost everyone I cognize who owns an Oculus Quest 2 is utilizing it with their kids, oregon it's specifically for their kids. I find this unsurprising, and concerning. Facebook has ne'er made the Oculus Quest level kid-friendly: There are nary kid accounts, nary kid contented filters and nary discrete controls implicit things similar nationalist chat successful games. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg told CNET the Quest isn't meant for kids, and isn't designed with kid information successful caput yet. 

I hold with Zuckerberg connected VR not being perfect for kids, and I person nary involvement successful having my kids, oregon anyone else's, spending clip successful Facebook's VR worlds. But the occupation is that it's already a kid's gaming console, with oregon without Facebook's consent. Putting amended absorption into making the Quest safer and much self-contained for kids needs to hap now, not successful 10 years.

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