The Oculus Quest might seem like a modest step towards the casual gazebo: it's VR, less cables. But the product is more complicated than its simple silhouette suggests. A self-supporting headset that does not require a computer or sensors to control the head in the room and keep track of VR's hands has required a spectacular leap from the Oculus team in a short period of time.
Since the original publication of Oculus in 2016, the company VR has made a series of incremental technological noise that has brought them here. Jason Rubin, vice president of collaborations and content of VR / AR for Facebook, trusts that these changes will impress and make their headphones be the first. That what seems simple will feel significant.
The hardware will be launched on May 21 and the previous openings. You can read our full product review and have been able to use the hardware of my own house, without any restrictions, for last week.
The next generation of portable VR
I agree with Rubin's evaluation after spending so much time with the hardware. The Quest is a surprising piece of engineering, and it is hard to believe that it is capable of offering a relatively high quality of vision and an imperceptible latency of tracking using only the autonomous Snapdragon 835 chip and a bit old. As a reference, this is the same system on a chip that is on a Google Pixel 2 smartphone.
"We have implemented many hardware-software stack optimizations to give Quest the best possible performance," said Polygon Sean Liu, director of hardware product management. "For example, an active cooling system allows Quest to operate at much higher clock rates for extended periods, and allows us to obtain more energy from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC."
The hardware team has even had to be creative with the way drivers were connected to the handset, as it was so important to minimize latency.
"To achieve this, we have invented a completely new customized wireless protocol that has allowed us to reduce the latency of the drivers to a lower level than could be achieved through the use of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi – in fact, until so low that 2 milliseconds ". explained
But most players do not worry about the engineering that came to Quest, what's important is that it's fun and easy to use. And that's where the search really shines: it's completely autonomous, so you do not need to be connected to a PC. It does not require external sensors, although its controllers offer six degrees of freedom, allowing you to manipulate objects in a 3D space as you would with a traditional Rift or HTC Vive.
You can stay in one place or sit down to play many games if you do not have space, but there is also a room-scale VR available, provided you have a minimum of 6.5 feet by 6.5 feet of free space. Or you can change this option anytime you like. This ease of use and the almost instantaneous configuration were all the point, according to Rubin.
"We are competing with the entertainment time of everyone right now," he said. "You can put Netflix, you can play PlayStation, you can read a book, you can do a thousand things. VR should not take half an hour or 15 minutes to configure … That's why we thought that the most important to address it first was: [getting rid of] the external sensors and the anxiety of configuring it every time. "
Much of the simplicity of the system comes from the Guardian system, which is a security mechanism that shows you a virtual barrier of wire when we approach you to leave your usable VR space. The Quest will even take you out of VR and show you the world that surrounds you through the system's traffic cameras, if you do not do it completely. Creating a new Guardian configuration is as easy as searching and locating the area with the controller; The whole process takes about 10 seconds.
"Even if his Guardian has changed and moved to a different room, it does not take much time to paint Guardian on the floor and go," Rubin said. "It's no big deal anymore."
This change facilitates the introduction of VR to Oculus cap Products that use external sensors, in fact. You may be able to locate an original Rift on the secondary market, but from now on the Rift S and Oculus Quest will be the standard Rift products that are offered for the entire gaming experience, along with the Oculus Go and Gear VR more limited. .
This is a great change, but the VR scale of the wireless and autonomous room brings its own challenges. Rubin pointed out that it is hard to say how the players will react to be completely detached from the PC. Some people are too enthusiastic about their movements, while others take even more time to feel comfortable moving with the headphones.
"Sometimes you put people in VR wireless and fly around the room," he said. "And thank God we have the Guardian system because, suddenly, they are not tied, and it's so free. Other people use the weight of the cable to tell them where it is, if you want, where the PC is. And without this They feel a bit naked, especially if they are used to playing with the cable, so they are a bit more conservative with what they are doing. There were many surprises. "
I asked Rubin why the review embargo rose much before the departure date of May 21 of the Quest and his response was forceful.
"We have more sales," Rubin told Polygon. "We believe in these products. We believe the comments will be good. If you think the comments will be good, you want them there as soon as possible … At the end of the day, anyone who has [reviews] until the day of the launch is concerned. "