Facebook Unveils Oculus Quest Wireless VR Headset for $399

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Facebook inc. unveiled a wireless virtual-reality headset called Oculus Quest, an attempt to help popularize the developing technology with a more mainstream audience. When Facebook originally announced the device prototype two years ago it wasn’t clear if it was going be a Gear VR “pro” or a Rift “lite”, it’s clear now that from an experience standpoint that the Quest is more like the latter even if its technical specifications prevent it from reaching the depth of fidelity that you can get on a PC-based system.

The headset will go sale in spring 2019 for $399, complete with hand controllers to give people a sense of presence in virtual reality, Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday at the Oculus Connect conference in San Jose, California. People are more likely to use a technology that they can wear while moving around freely, Zuckerberg said. Facebook sees VR, a technology that immerses users in a virtual environment, as the next great advance in human communication, after mobile phones. The company isn’t focused on making money from the effort, and instead wants to spread it to as many potential users as possible.

While fixed point-of-view devices like Oculus Go puts the content all around you, the Quest really captures the magic of immersion that’s so much more than a big, enveloping display. You really feel transported with this technology and the tracking is the not-so-secret sauce that has just been so irksome to integrate into headsets until now. Inside-out tracking is available on other systems and it’s hard to compare the tech Oculus has built from what others have based on these demos alone, but the Quest definitely offers the most complete package available thus far.

Facebook sees VR, a technology that immerses users in a virtual environment, as the next great advance in human communication, after mobile phones. The social-media company acquired Oculus VR, a headset company, in 2014. Facebook wants people to use VR to do more than play games. Oculus Quest is the last piece of what Facebook sees as the first generation of virtual reality. Just like the Oculus Go, the Quest has a display resolution of 1600 x 1440 per eye. It also has built-in speakers but with deeper bass than that of the Go.