Oculus ‘Quest Pro’ Not Coming in 2021 After All
Facebook won’t be releasing the Oculus Quest Pro this year and its new Quest 2 headset will be in the market “for a long while”, Andrew Bosworth, the VP at Facebook Reality Labs revealed during an audio Q&A with John Carmack that happened on Twitter Spaces. According to Bosworth, the Quest 2 will be around for quite some time but Facebook is already building headsets that will have greater capabilities.
Facebook’s Vice President for augmented reality and virtual reality Andrew Bosworth and its Consulting Technical Officer John Carmack held a question-and-answer session on Twitter on Friday, April 16th after a solicitation of questions from Twitter users. The QnA session covered several topics including the market success of the Oculus Quest headset, upcoming features as well as the Quest Pro.
The Oculus Quest 2 is Facebook’s most successful VR headset so far. According to Facebook, the Quest 2 headset has recorded higher sales than all the previous Oculus devices combined. In the Twitter session, Carmack compared the VR headset’s success to that of other top electronic devices. According to Carmack, the Quest 2 headset “is doing really well” though not as well as the iPhone or the Nintendo Switch. Carmack was previously Oculus chief technology officer but now works in an advisory capacity at Facebook.
Bosworth stated that while many users were asking for a Quest 3, they will have to contend with the Quest 2 for quite a while. However, during an AMA early this year, he threw some hints about the possibility of a Quest Pro as Facebook is currently has lots of things under development and is keen on introducing new functionalities to the virtual reality headset including some of the many things “that people theorize” that Facebook wants to introduce but according to Bosworth, these are still “ways off” and are definitely not happening this year.
The industry has registered tremendous growth. Just a few years back, it was inconceivable for developers to live off virtual reality games, according to Facebook’s AR/VR boss Andrew Bosworth. That dream has become a reality with the Oculus Quest platform with dozens of titles having grossed over $1 million in revenues. VR being a new hardware platform, there won’t be an overnight success and it will take a little longer for a mainstream breakthrough. This will require further investments.
Quest 2 Will be on the Market for a While
Asked about the Quest 2 exclusivity for Resident Evil 4 VR, Bosworth said that Facebook could possibly allow developers to release certain high-end apps only for Quest 2. However, it is still prudent to develop apps for the two headsets. Any studio that publishes an app for the standard Quest gains access to millions of virtual reality users. This gives an inkling of the number of the original Oculus Quest headset as north of one million headsets. However, that market size is nothing close to the uptake of the recently released $299 Oculus Quest 2 headset which is not only lighter and more powerful but also less expensive than the original Oculus Quest headset.
The Oculus Quest 2 headset replaced the standard Oculus Quest headset less than two years after it was released. The duration between the two launches was relatively short for a device that was yet to assert itself in the market. Should Facebook maintain the same production cycle, it was expected that we might see the successor to the Oculus Quest 2 pretty soon. Not too fast, says the Facebook VR boss.
He emphasized that the Oculus Quest 2 will be in the market “for a long while” and will remain the best bet yet for the “most accessible way to get into VR” and enjoy a great experience. He stated that a Quest 3 doesn’t exist yet even though Facebook has been working on a successor device for a long time. Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg suggested as much in a recent interview.
Work on Quest Pro Confirmed
Bosworth first revealed that Facebook was working on a technically upgraded Oculus Quest Pro a few months ago. In the Twitter conversation on April 16th, he revealed that Facebook had a lot of things in development and wants to introduce new functions for virtual reality headsets in line with users’ expectations. However, Oculus Quest Pro won’t be happening this year.
The user expectations that Bosworth alluded to might include features such as eye-tracking and better cameras and sensors for the AR mode. A Quest Pro may not make sense at the moment as the market is still too small. However, the pro version could become an experimental platform for new features that could later make their way into the standard Quest in a fully developed format.
Apple is also reportedly working on a standalone high-end virtual reality headset set to be released in 2022. With the Quest Pro, Facebook could launch a potentially competing product.
Air Link: Wi-Fi Dongle Could Improve Streaming
Development continues for the standard Quest headset but only in terms of the optics, ergonomics, and pricing instead of futuristic hardware features. For instance, there is still room for maneuver when it comes to heat generation. The goal of the Quest product line is to expand the user base and improve on the software side to get the most out of the existing hardware. However, just like with the console generations, this could take years.
A promising area that Facebook is looking to nudge its way into with the Oculus Quest headset is work and productivity. Two updates have already been released for the Infinite Office feature package aimed to gradually transform VR headsets into a virtual office. These updates bring Bluetooth, mouse, and keyboard tracking.
At some point in the future, virtual reality headsets will eventually replace tablets or Chromebooks. That goal can be realized by improving the optics and the resolution. The AR mode for developers that Oculus has promised since last year is set to be released soon.
Carmack also talked on the sidelines about Oculus Quest’s new feature: Air Link wireless PC VR streaming. The team had initially thought of bringing Wi-Fi VR dongle for VR headsets onto the market but eventually decided against it. The accessories are, however, still on the table and could appear in the future.