I start this by saying I’m a firm believer in AR over VR in the long run. However, I bought a Oculus Quest on launch day and Magic Leap One (Creator Edition) when they went on sale. The reason I bought both was neither require being tethered to a computer. VR on the Quest is definitely more interesting and engaging at the moment. To be fair, the ML1 is a beta device, primarily for content creators. Quest is the 3rd production device from Oculus. My kids, ranging from 5 to 15 years old, found the ML1 as a fun novelty but eventually stopped asking me to take it out because there wasn’t enough engaging content. It’s been 5 days since we acquired a Quest and they’ve been playing it nonstop. I have to agree with @Scobleizer in his write up: Oculus Quest is that good.
This is not a technical review of the Quest. This is not a side by side comparison of the Quest and Magic Leap. This is just one more voice in the world to say that VR for the masses has finally arrived.
Why is Quest so good?
- Portable – The quest is just a head set and 2 controllers. That’s it. No PC required, not even any wires to a Lightpack. You don’t think wires would be that big of a deal, but they really are.
- Real World Boundaries – The problem I had with VR was the discomfort of not knowing if you’re about to run into a wall mid game. The Quest’s Guardian system fixes that. When you turn on the system, the cameras turn on and you can draw a boundary around your safe zone and lose yourself in the content knowing you’re safe.
- Quick Setup – It’s very easy to setup the quest and get playing. VR/AR hardware are akin to a mobile app’s startup time. If it takes too long to get going, the users move on. The Quest shines here for sure.
- Availability of games/software – Because of its heritage, developers have titles available to port to Quest. Therefore, on launch day, there was plenty of fun adventures to be had.
Is it the best ever?
No, not by a long shot. The hardware is limited. Graphics are tamed down. Audio is not as immersive. All that doesn’t matter for the masses though. You’re talking differences of say gaming PC rigs to consoles. The former is for the fanatical and the latter is for the masses.
There is one area that I say the Quest could use some work. My youngest daughter in the video above loves the Quest, but someone has to get it on the game she wants before she can use it. Whereas with her iPhone, she doesn’t need any assistance whatsoever. I think the “cool” lobby would be better served with just a plain lobby. It’s a minor annoyance, but still a barrier for the young (and possibly the old too).
I’m not the first to predict this, but again I’ll add my voice to the matter. Quest will definitely be THE hot gift come Christmas. At $400, it’s console level pricing and parents have shown time and again that they’re okay with paying that.
I’m thinking the Quest will dominate until a production level system from Magic Leap arrives. At that time, it will be a fairer comparison across the board. If you have the funds, definitely pick one up now. My prediction is come fall, we’ll start to see shortages as holiday shoppers snatch them up.
We at Omega Ortega will continue experimenting with both platforms for both ourselves as well as our clients. We’re very bullish on AR, especially for shopping, warehouse and banking, but will begin to dipping into some VR experiments now with the Quest. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or need some help making an entry into this new space.