Welcome VR 1.0 – Oculus Quest Announced
We’re already hard at work on a new title for the Oculus Quest and are pretty excited about it to say the least! But what about the headset itself and what does that mean for both nDreams and VR in general? Patrick O’Luanaigh, CEO at nDreams, shares his thoughts...
For me, the announcement of the Oculus Quest (formerly known as the Santa Cruz) represents a major milestone in the VR journey that we’re all on. The launch of the Quest in Spring 2019 will mark what we like to see as “VR 1.0” - the moment that headset technology really gets going.
I’ve been lucky enough to use the Quest and was blown away by the freedom it provides, the quality of the tracking it has and the ability it has to solve a number of problems that have held back VR in the past.
In my view, there are six key features that, combined, deliver something truly revolutionary:
There are no cables! Knowing that you’re not limited by wire length or having to worry about whether you’re wrapping cables around yourself gives you a huge sense of freedom. You can often feel the weight of cables when you’re in a headset, so it’s a more relaxed and comfortable experience, making it easier to forget about the real world and lose yourself in another world.
For me, this is a huge win. Want to play a game? Just pick up the headset, stick it on your head and you’re in. There is no booting up of a PC/console, no finding an app and inserting your phone, no plugging in cameras or switching on anything else. Currently, for first-time users, setting up VR can be a daunting experience… mounting sensors and getting all the software up and running on your PC takes time and a little skill. Quest makes this whole process simple.
3) Full 6DOF inside-out tracking
Compelling VR needs not just rotational, but positional tracking. It provides a much more comfortable experience and makes ‘presence’ significantly more powerful when your head isn’t fixed to a single position. It also allows players to peer around, look under and behind things, and to physically move around a virtual environment. Quest does this with Oculus’ new insight technology.
4) Full hand tracking/motion control
Proper VR also needs true 6DOF motion controllers. The ability to reach out, grab, pull, throw and interact with a virtual environment is what makes VR so special. Quest provides two wireless handheld controllers much like the Oculus Touch which perform really well.
5) It’s perfect for Location Based Entertainment centres /VR arcades
Quest should provide a cheap, simple, easy to replace solution for LBEs. Oculus were showing off a great warehouse-size multiplayer battle using Quest at Oculus Connect (the nDreams team won their battle, I’m proud to say!) and it worked incredibly well.
It’s $399 all-in. You don’t need anything else! That’s a bargain and aligns very favourably with other gaming and entertainment devices that have gone on to mass adoption.
The first day of Oculus Connect delivered some other very exciting nuggets of information. Michael Abrash spoke about how VR and AR technology is going to converge into a single device. Great progress is being made through waveguide display technology to create small and light VR/AR headsets (possibly within four years) that are not much thicker than a piece of glass. Exciting!
Last year, Abrash said, “The new wave of virtual computing is coming, and its impact will be bigger than the personal computing revolution.” His vision of the future of VR/AR is extremely inspiring, and I’m so pleased that nDreams are playing our part in this amazing journey. Keep your eyes out for news about our first epic Oculus Quest game early next year!
Patrick O’Luanaigh is the CEO here at nDreams. He has over 20 years in the video games industry, holding senior positions at Codemasters, SCi, and more recently as Creative Director at Eidos where he was responsible for titles including Tomb Raider Legend, Hitman Blood Money, Just Cause and Conflict: Desert Storm. He left to found nDreams in late 2006.
For more from nDreams keep a look out @nDreamsVR.