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Oculus Quest as the front-runner: How we got here.

Level 16

It has been a long journey from the DK and CV1 days up to the current time where Quest 2 is the flagship HMD heading up VR’s mainstream adoption. Over the years there has been a lot of analysis about:

  • What does it take to make VR mainstream?
  • What type of experience qualifies as VR?
  • What can be defined as an “immersive” experience?
  • Wtf does VR even mean?
    • Does 360 Media count too? 
    • Is it VR if its 3DoF or just 6DoF?
    • Does VR require hand-controllers to be considered VR?
    • Is it VR if it’s sitting vs standing?
    • Can we even call it "VR" if you don’t have max settings with max refresh rate with max resolution and max pixel density?


Everything from mobile to console to PC has been argued and analyzed every which way possible (and some debates even venture in to the realm of “not possible”). This discussion is definitely NONE of that.


What I’m most interested in is trying to understand the true (emphasis on “true”) journey that specifically led to the state we’re in today where Stand-Alone/Hybrid VR is leading the charge, and becoming the go-to HMD for mainstream audiences of both MobileVR and PCVR.


Note that determining which experience is better is completely off-topic.


The way I see it…


In the beginning, the primary goal for VR was to speed up adoption.


So let’s analyze “adoption.” We know that everyone has some type of computer in their home today. Whether it be a Desktop, Laptop, Smart Phone, Smart Tablet, or even some form of A.I. like Google Home and Alexa. While these are not computers themselves, they are gateways to computers as they talk to APIs which run on computer systems.


However, looking at the history of computer-in-the-home adoption, it took many long years. First computers entered the military and government. Then corporations. Then our schools. Then our homes.

All this spanning a timeline measured in decades.


Clearly, the goal for VR was to achieve the same thing (have a VR headset in billions of homes across the globe); only the achievement needed to happen much, much sooner than the adoption of the computer-in-the-home.


But how could that be done? It seems to me that VR began by relying on that “gotcha” experience. Putting on a VR HMD for the first time is clearly a mind-blowing moment. And it is in that moment that the “gotcha” happens; where clearly the Industry was hoping there would be enough “gotchas” to make everyone run out to buy a Rift or a Vive (as these were the first consumer releases on the market).


But that didn’t happen. We’ve also seen attempts at this “gotcha” moment with using VR HMD’s at Theme Parks and Arcades. While fun, they also didn’t have the effect of causing people to run out to purchase a headset by the hundreds of millions.


The question is… why? Thanks to the advantage of hindsight, I firmly believe that the reason is due to VR being utilized in these more child-like ways. Apologies if that comes across negative. I love gaming and theme parks, but I am also honest with myself by admitting that those are things I relish due to my “inner child.” Going back to the history of mass computer-in-the-home adoption: It was certainly NOT “child-like” things that caused it. We weren’t using computers at work and school solely for childish purposes. There was productivity and life enhancing value coming from computers. Thus a need, and a market, was created for the home computer as a means to “enhance the quality of life.”


And that’s the key, I believe: VR will get those billions of users when it can actually improve one’s quality of life.


Which brings us to the current state: Oculus Quest. The more childish aspects of VR are still present, but they are not the long-term goal. Facebook is focusing on both Social and Workplace experiences. Facebook is trying (they aren’t there yet) to demonstrate how VR can enhance Social experiences in ways that are revolutionary; and they are trying to have breakthroughs in VR at the Workplace to change how industry and teams operate.


So if (this is a big “if”) Facebook is successful in showing that using VR for Social Experiences and Workplace innovation truly does improve the overall quality of life… then we’ve hit the real target. This is what puts us on the proper path to get VR in hundreds of millions, even billions, of homes.


Quest 2 is the flagship VR HMD not just for Oculus and Facebook, but for the VR Industry as a whole, because it is best suited to achieve exactly that. The “hybrid” approach gives it the flexibility to go between gaming/entertainment and social/worklife productivity.


This feels like one of those moments where everything happened in reverse. We launched with powerful PCVR HMDs that were ready to play great VR video games, but we should have waited until there was a market for that; by waiting until hundreds of millions of homes had a VR HMD. If we had launched with the Quest first and later evolved into a Rift, then - in all likelihood - this post would be about a plethora of PCVR AAA titles that are so vast in number that I’d never be able to play them all in one lifetime.


Similar to how beastly pc gaming rigs came long after Windows 3.1 was already in people’s homes.


In hindsight, it does make sense to have something like the Quest being the flagship HMD. Relying on a “wow factor” and “gotcha” moment has never been good enough to launch any industry into global status. It is always about necessity and quality of life. And finally, after 6 years of mainstream VR, we seem to be on the correct course.


Or maybe I'm wrong. There's always that! 


Happy immersing, folks!


@Shadowmask72 wrote:

Zenbane you must be well out of the Sony loop. They have publicly stated PSVR 2 is happening, is in development for perhaps 2022, shown the controllers and sent out dev kits.  That said, seeing as so few can actually get a PS5 then the PSVR 2 will be very niche to begin with. 


Nice! I admit, the last year has been me focusing far more on my career. Mostly as the result of the pandemic. My software development ventures have taking up a massive amount of my time. The rest goes to family!


So other than Quest news, I really don't pay too much attention to everything else going on. I figure that if something is making huge waves in the world of VR, then I'll end up reading about it in one of the FB Groups or this forum. And it seems I missed your original post on this forum on the matter. Most likely due to my activity on this forum decreasing after the migration to the new format. Granted, this version of the forum is starting to grow on me, so I may start paying more attention to new posts.


Although in my defense... this reveal only took place at the end of February, less than 2 months ago. So I don't feel TOO bad being out of that loop lol


Thanks for the info! I'm curious as to the Sony PlayStationVR Software lineup to support PSVR2.

Not sure it's that hard to get - more than 500 are for sale on - new with BIN. Sure you'll pay about 50% more than the official price, but it's peanuts compared to what Nividia Series 30 video cards are going for these days. I wouldn't consider a PS5 for $800 neither expensive nor hard to get. Not sure how it is in the US though. 

Valve Index & Oculus Rift CV1, Asus Strix OC RTX™ 3090, i9-10900K (5.3Ghz), 32GB 3200MHz, 8TB
"Ask not what VR can do for you, but what you can do for VR"

Don't give scalpers your money. That only encourages them. Also, I was seeing them listed on Amazon before the system had even launched for upwards of $2,000 by scalpers. Unless you're willing to pay twice the market value (at least), it's still nearly impossible to get a PS5 or Xbox series X.



I've also heard reports of a few scalpers charging a thousand dollars for what turned out to be a picture of a PS5.

Lo, a quest! I seek the threads of my future in the seeds of the past.

Level 16

Agreed. Never pay the scalpers, shame on you Rune for even suggesting. There needs to be some legislation brought in to prevent such free enterprise at the expense of genuine consumers unable to purchase items they want when they release. It's not like it's fair game either with most of them [scalpers] buying bulk and using bots. Average joe shouldn't have to resort to the same methods. 


Anyway, two games were announced for PSVR 2 and one of them was Low Fi, I think a version of Pavlov also hinted at. 

System Specs: ASUS NVIDIA RTX 3090 TUF GAMING OC 24GB , i9 9900K CPU, 16 GB DDR 4 RAM, Win 10 64 Bit OS.

Level 9

Hell, I tried to buy a PS5 the day they launched. I had it in my cart and was checking out. A scalper's bot swiped the PS5 out of my cart as I was entering the payment information so the scalper could try reselling it for at least double the market value.

Lo, a quest! I seek the threads of my future in the seeds of the past.

Well for the nearly $3000 price I just paid for my 3090 in a local shop, we could discuss who are the real scalpers here, lol. In Germany most private sellers are just €100-200 over normal prices. - if you really want one. We could discuss if anyone paying more than $1000 for a video card to play computer games didn't support scalpers one way or the other. To each his own I guess 😉 

Valve Index & Oculus Rift CV1, Asus Strix OC RTX™ 3090, i9-10900K (5.3Ghz), 32GB 3200MHz, 8TB
"Ask not what VR can do for you, but what you can do for VR"

Level 16

Scalper is anyone who sells for massive profit contributing to the scarcity of items. We have CEX here in the UK an online and high st store. They were selling PS5s for £800.  The whole scalper issue has been a hot topic understandably and exasperated by short supply due to covid-19. IMO it needs to have some legislation brought in to prevent it happening. Sites like Ebay need to be held accountable and perhaps forced to obey certain rules regarding the sale of newly released items and the mark-up percentage sellers use. 


I have nothing against selling a rare item for massive profit. That is par de la cors, but selling newly released items only made rare due to people buying them to sell for profit is an ugly practice. 

System Specs: ASUS NVIDIA RTX 3090 TUF GAMING OC 24GB , i9 9900K CPU, 16 GB DDR 4 RAM, Win 10 64 Bit OS.

I do wonder why PS5 is so hard to get - surely miners aren't buying them? Does Sony lack chips or other components? Are PS5s just sold out due to high demands even if Sony produces the normal amount? - I have not looked into this. 

Valve Index & Oculus Rift CV1, Asus Strix OC RTX™ 3090, i9-10900K (5.3Ghz), 32GB 3200MHz, 8TB
"Ask not what VR can do for you, but what you can do for VR"

Level 16

We're going off-topic here but yes. High demand at launch, supply issues due to component shortages and masses of profiteers. 

System Specs: ASUS NVIDIA RTX 3090 TUF GAMING OC 24GB , i9 9900K CPU, 16 GB DDR 4 RAM, Win 10 64 Bit OS.

It's a fairly decent off-topic lol


I have a love-hate relationship with scalpers in general. I think that scalping is rather unethical, and a part of me feels like they should be stopped. At the same time, I have a personal friend who runs a scalping business lol. He runs one of those sites where you can buy tickets to any live show and get front-row seats at like 5-times the price. He has software that auto-buys from Ticketmaster and other things like that. 


He gives me specials deals and sometimes tickets for free. I've sat front-row at many live comedy shows over the years due to my friend. So I guess, in those cases I'm being a hypocrite and a villain.


I think that at some point I just accept the immortal aspects of life, and dabble in taking advantage of them from time-to-time. Life's all about balance, right? lol