Social Network giant cum global technology firm, Facebook’s Virtual Reality brand, Oculus, is reportedly already putting in work toward developing the next two generations of Oculus Quest VR headsets. Confirmed by boy genius himself, Facebook Founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, in a interview with online publication, the information The Oculus 3 and 4 are already in the work – while restating the global tech outfit’s continued bullishness regarding extended reality (XR) sector.
“We’re continuing to work on new hardware [which] will fit the same platform, so the content that works on Quest 2 should be forward-compatible, so that we’re going to build one larger install base around the virtual reality headsets that we have.” said Zuckerberg, in an earnings call statement back in January. About two months ahead of the The Information interview. The announcement inspired a bevy of speculation, as to how far along the development journey the next generation Oculus was, and what it would look like. Right down to the improvements it would featureover it’s predecessor – which is currently selling like hot cakes.
Oculus’ current premier headset model, the Oculus Quest 2 has only been out a few months, and has already garnered critical acclaim as the best VR headset to date. The Quest has also earned the title of most used VR headset on video game streaming platform, STEAM. The fact that Facebook has confirmed news that they are already designin third and fourth edition of the headset does indicate that the current model will have a short run, however.
With information on the next Oculus headset is currently scant, and severely hard to come by, we can only – at this point – speculate on when Oculus might trickling – at the very least – images of the next Quest headset. Seeing as the Oculus Quest 2 has only just seen the light of day – having been released during the tail end of 2020, this year is most likely out of the running for a Quest 3 release. 2022-2023 may bring us our first glimpses of Oculus’ next VR product, if Mark Zuckerberg’s bullish statements are anything to go by.
So why the rush to announce? “Because of how hardware gets developed, you kind of need to know what your next three products are going to look like, all at the same time. It’s not like software where we’re changing it every week or every couple of weeks,” explained Zuckerberg “So we have product teams spun up now working on the next few generations of virtual reality and what Quest 3 and 4 are going to look like. And then of course fundamental technology that goes into that in terms of improving the optics, and the performance of it, and making it smaller and lighter, and adding a lot of functionality that you’d want.”
Zuckerberg also said – during is discussion with The Information – that all improvements added to their Quest VR headsets were based on the company’s drive to offer ” social presence”. This probably means that future versions of the Quest will come packed with features that make the VR computing experience feel more natural.
“For example one of the things that I’m really excited about for future versions [of the Oculus Quest VR headset] is getting eye-tracking and face-tracking in, because if you’re really excited about social presence, you want to make sure that the device has all the sensors to really animate realistic avatars so you can communicate well like that.” – Zuckerberg
Improvements – over the current iteration of the Quest product – that are expected ranged from form factor (product look and feel), to display as well as performance. The Quest 3 and 4 will continue the “standalone device” element of the product, that much is certain (I mean – why revert back to cables, right?)
Anyway, it looks as though the next generation Quest will host a far higher refresh rate than the current model. We’re talking 120 Hz, as opposed to the standing 72Hz. Integration into the Facebook ecosystem is something that is likely going to continue with the Quest 3 and 4, requiring users to have a Facebook account to operate the device. A improved controller experience is probably also on the cards, as the firm will most likely want to take advantage current haptick feedback technology that is found in gaming consoles, in an effort to improve he VR experience.
The technology entrepreneur also highlighted some challenges to the Quest delivering an even more seamless immersive experience, that the firm was focusing on with subsequent models. Varifocal, and HDR displays. Unlike the mobile phones – with a single display screen – VR has been battling with fine tuning the display experience for one focal length. . “So your eyes try to focus [when looking at close objects] and you can’t because they’re just projecting one distance. That’s something that needs to get solved…” Mark eloborated.
While it may take a bit before the next iteration of the Oculus Quest sees the light of day, Mark Zuckerberg also shed some light on the internet firm’s XR glasses, Facebook smartglasses – due later this year. The Facebook founder also divulged some details about a wrist worn device the firm has been running through Research, & Development. He did say his company was bullish on the tech.