Oculus Quest: Pre-Order, Price, Specs and Games for the Wireless VR Headset

Project Santa Cruz is here.

Facebook had exciting news for virtual reality game enthusiasts Tuesday, during its F8 developer conference in San Jose, California. The social media giant announced that the Oculus Quest — its first standalone VR headset —is now available for pre-order and will ship on May 21.

Starting at $399, the headset will come with two hand controllers, much like the original Oculus Rift. Only this time, users can start gaming without needing to plug into a PC. The devices can be reserved on Oculus’ website or on Amazon and will include a line up of more than 50 game titles that users can choose from.

The VR platform was initially announced in 2016 under the codename Project Santa Cruz. Two years later, it seems like the Facebook-owned VR company is poised to deliver on an untethered Oculus experience. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg excitedly announced that the gaming rig will merge three key aspects to unlock a fully-immersive VR experience, during its unveiling at Oculus Connect in September 2018.

“First, it needs to be standalone that way there are no wires that are going to break your feeling of presence and you’re going to be able to take it with you,” he explained. “Second, it’s got to support hands because that’s how we’re going to interact with people and objects in virtual reality. And third, it has to offer six degrees of freedoms so you can move through a virtual space just like you would a physical one.”

But to deliver on these promises, the Quest will need to overcome many of VR’s most notorious limitations. Not only will it have to run like a powerful computer, it will also have to make digital distances feel much larger than they actually are.

To achieve something close to this right now, the Rift headset acts as an external monitor, while a PC does all of the grunt work of running the games using its graphics processing unit, or GPU. To provide a similar experience the Quest will need to pack the same punch as a desktop unit or risk providing subpar graphics.

The system promises boundless exploration potential, but with a restricted storage capacity it will need to employ a few tricks to make the Quest’s virtual worlds seem larger than they are. A recent VR research study has shown that the human eye can be fooled into thinking a room measuring 11 feet and 5 inches square into is a virtual room measuring 21 square feet. Techniques like these will come in handy, but not exactly moving through “virtual space just like you would a physical one.”

Still, VR-enthusiasts will be able to hop in and out of virtual worlds whenever and wherever they want to without the fear of wandering too far and tripping over their expensive computer rig. VR gaming can finally be unchained, but it’ll likely take a few years before it can provide the same experience as the Rift.

Oculus Quest: What’s Inside the Box

Upon purchasing the Oculus Quest, customers will get the follows components shipped to them on May 21:

  • The Oculus Quest headset
  • Two, AA battery-powered touch controllers
  • AA batteries for the controllers
  • A 15W power adapter for the headset
  • A spacer, to comfortably accommodate users with glasses.

Oculus Quest: Storage Space

While the Quest will come with popular VR-game titles, like The Climb and Robo Recall, users won’t be able to cram a massive amount of games into it. The system will come with 64-gigabytes of storage memory or shelling out $499 will get users $128GB. For comparison, the latest iPhone XS releases can hold eight times the amount of apps, data, and games than that 64GB Oculus Quest.

The file size of VR games can vary greatly, so depending on your preference of titles you could fit more into the Quest. Robo Recall clocks in at 9GB, which means that users will be able to fit six or seven of similarly sized games into the Quest. But Wilson’s Heart clocks in at a beefy 22GB, which would take up a third of the headset’s storage space.

Users will likely have to delete games pretty often if they want to try out all of the 50 titles Facebook claims will be available. It’ll be like having to dump your phone’s camera roll before smartphones started supporting 512GB of memory capacity.

Oculus Quest: Built-in Sensors, Resolution, and Unknowns

The Quest will come with retrofitted with four wide-angle sensors which will feed data to computer vision algorithms to track users’ position in real time, no external components needed. This will ensure you’re able to traverse unexplored, digital worlds without being confined to the same ten square feet.

Play VR tennis without worrying about tipping over your expensive PC rig.

Oculus / Facebook

All of this will be displayed on the Quest’s goggles, which provides the same 1,600-by-1,440 pixel resolution as the Oculus Go does for each eye. The only potential issue is the graphics might be lackluster because the Quest won’t be running on a PC’s GPU, but Facebook has yet to reveal anything about the newly announced headset’s graphical capabilities.

The battery life of the Quest is another big mystery and could make or break the system entirely. A wireless VR experience sounds revolutionary, but if you have to stop and charge it every thirty minutes the immersiveness will wear off no matter how real a game feels.

Project Santa Cruz has shown its true colors, but a lot still remains unanswered. Oculus will likely reveal more details as its release date nears.

Oculus Quest: Game Roster

Facebook announced the headset will come with a roster of more than 50 games. To whet consumers palette the Oculus Quest will come pre-loaded with demos of the five following games:

  • Beat Saber
  • Creed
  • Journey of the Gods
  • Space Pirate Trainer
  • Sports Scramble