Quest 2: Facebook is paving the way for VR to become mainstream

The second-generation Oculus virtual reality headset Quest 2 has been pre-sold on September 16, and will be officially sold in 22 countries/regions on October 13, with a price starting at $299. With the Link function, Quest 2 will replace the original Quest and Rift S connected to the PC, allowing it to play PC VR games.

It is worth noting that Quest 2 is the first headset that requires a Facebook account to log in and does not allow users to keep a completely independent Oculus account. This move is intended to improve sociality, especially during the epidemic. It is the right time for VR headsets to improve their social attributes. And, applications in the fields of games, virtual office, etc., have a better experience.

The development of the VR industry in China has experienced several ups and downs, and from the perspective of the progress of overseas benchmark products, there are more optimistic expectations for the promotion of VR to the mass market.




product details
Quest2 is a thinner and lighter version of Quest. The weight of the headset is 503 grams, which is slightly lighter than the previous product. Four tracking cameras and two black and white Oculus touch motion controllers are installed on the front of the headset.

The report pointed out that the previous generation Quest has been out of stock in many places and has been officially phased out. Oculus will continue to support Rift S and the previous generation Quest. Currently, all new and existing Quest games can be used on both generations of headsets, and there is no exclusive content for Quest 2.

The report pointed out that the new headset uses Qualcomm's Snapdragon XR2 chipset and has 6GB of RAM. The base model has 64GB of storage space, but the upgraded $399 model has 256GB of storage space, which is twice that of the previous generation Quest. The screen resolution is higher, reaching 1832x1920 pixels. The refresh rate of the upgrade reaches 90Hz.




Facebook ecology: virtual social,
Games, virtual workspaces, fitness
Quest2 is the first headset that requires a Facebook account to log in, and does not allow users to keep a completely independent Oculus account. Quest2 product manager Prabhu Parthasarathy said that this is to improve sociality, especially during the epidemic. In the past few months, every social experience on the platform has been particularly attractive, and now is the right time for VR headsets to improve their social attributes.

The report pointed out that linked accounts allow Oculus users to find Facebook friends in VR, and the company recently launched a beta test version for Horizon, a Facebook social space running on Oculus headsets. However, functions like friend lists can still be separated, and users do not have to merge Oculus and Facebook accounts, thus making the connection between the user's VR and social activities closer.

According to a BBC report on September 17, Facebook also added many additional features to Quest 2. Facebook will soon release a multiplayer version of the game Beat Saber, which is already one of Quest’s most popular games, as well as an expansion pack designed for the Korean group BTS. Facebook also has a Population: One game. This is a Fortnite-like battle royale shooting game designed for VR and has been developed for many years.

The report pointed out that Facebook not only developed games, but also proposed a concept called Infinite Office. This allows people to enter a huge virtual workspace, where they can run multiple screens of various sizes. The company said it is working with Logitech to develop a physical keyboard that can be used in VR. Facebook said it will continue to work on the development of augmented reality glasses, which overlay graphics on the real-world view. The company now calls it the Aria project and says that hundreds of its employees will soon be equipped with this kind of eyes to collect data while moving around in their homes, Facebook offices, and public places.

Facebook believes that VR can be used as a working medium. Zuckerberg said that some Oculus teams have hosted meetings in virtual spaces. Even if it is not a physical space, it will give people the feeling of being in the same space. In addition to adjusting the headset, Facebook also said that it has updated the handheld Touch controller that comes with Quest 2 so that users can feel the presence of their hands in virtual games.

Facebook is also adding the way people use VR. Since many people use headsets to play the sports game Dance Central or Creed: Rise to Glory, Oculus software will have a new fitness tracker called Oculus Move built in so that users can set fitness goals and track exercise and calorie consumption.

In addition, Oculus also announced that Facebook Messenger will be added to the Quest platform in the next few months. In addition to being able to chat on Messenger while wearing a headset, users can also invite friends to join their VR game session. The company said that Oculus also launched a challenge event, which will allow players to create mini-matches for friends and the VR community.




Industry impact
CNN reported on September 16 that Facebook has been committed to turning VR into a mass market technology since it acquired Oculus for $3 billion in 2014. Since then, it has released a number of headsets, from awkward devices to more and more lightweight and powerful stand-alone devices. In addition to the headset, Facebook also spent several years perfecting VR controllers and pushing content manufacturers to create games and other experiences for them.

The report pointed out that although the market for VR is still small compared to other consumer technologies, the original Quest headset has aroused the curiosity of almost everyone. Facebook did not disclose sales figures, but claimed that Quest headsets are very popular. Zuckerberg said that its sales speed has reached the limit that the company can do. The company said in May that it had sold $100 million worth of content in the Quest space, and on September 16th it increased that number to more than $150 million.

According to Jitesh Ubrani, an analyst at IDC, a technology market research firm, the market has been in strong demand over the past year and Quest has been sold out. Quest simplified VR and turned it into a mass product.

The report pointed out that through Quest 2, Facebook has consolidated its leading position in the field of powerful, portable VR. Although many consumers are still skeptical of this technology, the release of the latest product shows that Facebook believes in the prospects of VR technology and continues to lower prices while putting more powerful computing power and sensors into smaller and lighter devices in. The company also continues to work on adding compelling gaming products to the Oculus ecosystem, including Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell games.

On September 17th, the BBC reported that when many gamers focus on the upcoming new PlayStation and Xbox consoles, this may help spark people’s interest. Leo Gebbie of CCS Insight, a consulting firm, said that at this price, we consider the device to be a leading product, indicating that Facebook is eager to simultaneously promote virtual reality applications and occupy a larger market share. We worry that competitors like HTC will not be able to keep up with Facebook’s aggressive pace.

The report pointed out that, but another industry observer expressed doubts about this, thinking that this does not represent a breakthrough in VR. Kevin Joyce of Tiny Brains, a VR consulting company, commented that improving image quality is important, but it is still the foundation for large-scale applications. The size and weight of Quest still need to be further reduced. However, Facebook is paving the way for VR to become mainstream through careful planning.

Francisco Jeronimo of research firm IDC said that compared with many other categories, shipments in the entire VR field are still very low, and games are still the only category that drives product sales. By reaching an agreement with Ubisoft to create VR works in the Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell series and run them on Quest, this should increase the appeal.

According to a research report by the analysis company IDC, the VR market has suffered setbacks caused by the epidemic this year due to supply chain disruptions and product conversion delays. Therefore, shipments in 2020 are expected to drop by 6.7% compared to 2019. However, this setback is expected to be only temporary. IDC predicts that from 2020 to 2024, VR headset shipments will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 48%. Tom Mainelli, vice president of IDC’s equipment and consumer research department, said that consumer and commercial buyers’ interest in VR is increasing. We expect that with the increase in production and the launch of new products, shipments in the second half of this year will increase significantly, and VR is expected to resume strong growth in 2021.

Telecoms reported on September 17 that Facebook has taken another big step in resolving the gap between virtual reality and social networks, which may mean additional pressure on mobile networks. Lower prices extend the appeal of VR from the frenetic game market to casual games, and may also stimulate the popularity of social VR. These developments will affect network operators. For example, due to its real-time nature, VR requires fast, low-latency connections. If Oculus wants to mainstream VR, it may increase the potential pressure on local access networks.

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