Ahead of today's Facebook Connect details, all of the biggest details about its new version of the Oculus Quest virtual reality headset leaked early except for the price. The next generation of Facebook's standalone headsets, simply named the Oculus Quest 2, is aiming to be both more powerful and more affordable than its predecessor: the Quest 2 will launch at $299 on October 13.
That's $100 less than the original Quest, which was lauded upon its debut last year in part because of its price point. Now, the Quest 2 will provide an affordable, standalone entry point to VR at the same cost as a regular Nintendo Switch or Microsoft's Xbox Series S.
As reported previously, the Quest 2 will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 processor with 6 GB of RAM. The upgraded display panel will feature 1832 x 1920 pixels per eye, a 50 percent increase over the original Oculus Quest. It'll also support a 90 Hz refresh rate, which should promise smoother gameplay and less risk of nausea for many players. It's also lighter than the old Quest and comes with redesigned Touch controllers.
The Quest 2 will also support Oculus Link, Facebook's option for hooking up a Quest to a PC in order to play PC virtual reality titles. If you're wondering what the introduction of an even cheaper standalone Oculus headset means for the future iterations of Rift headsets, well, Facebook says there won't be any:
We're going to focus on standalone VR headsets moving forward. We'll no longer pursue PC-only hardware, with sales of Rift S ending in 2021. That said, the Rift Platform isn't going anywhere. In fact, we've seen significant growth in PC VR via Oculus Link, and the Rift Platform will continue to grow while offering high-end PC VR experiences like Lone Echo II and Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond well into the future.
So, from here on out, devices like the Quest 2 will be Facebook's primary VR hardware line. Compatibility on PC with SteamVR should still be possible through Oculus Link—Facebook even promises that Respawn's VR Medal of Honor title will launch on Steam—but this will likely shift more VR development interest over to Facebook's Quest platform and away from PC VR.
It's also worth remembering that starting with the Quest 2, Facebook accounts will be a requirement for using the company's VR headsets. Given Facebook's track record with privacy and data collection, the change in Oculus account policy was met with pushback when it was announced—for those worried about Facebook importing practices from the social media space over to VR, the low price point may not be enough to make the Quest 2 seem worth it.