Facebook held its Facebook Connect (formerly Oculus Connect) annual augmented reality and virtual reality conference this week—virtually, of course—and it was highlighted by the debut of the Quest 2 headset.
The social network said the Quest 2 was redesigned to be smaller and over 10% lighter than the original Oculus Quest, and its suggested retail price starts at $299, $100 below the original Quest.
Pre-orders are open here, and the Quest 2 is slated to ship Oct. 13.
The new headset runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Platform, giving it its highest-resolution display ever, at 50% more pixels than the first-generation unit.
Oculus said in a blog post, “Our goal with the original Quest was to bring stand-alone VR to as many people as possible. We’re doubling down on that goal with Quest 2. It combines the performance gamers want with the flexibility people need, all at a price significantly lower than similarly featured headsets on the market. Quest 2 is more than just the next step in all-in-one VR. It represents years of feedback from developers, gaming enthusiasts and the broader VR community, and we couldn’t be more grateful for this ongoing support.”
Facebook is teaming up with EssilorLuxottica on the next generation of smart glasses, combining Luxottica Group’s iconic styles with the social network’s technology.
The first glasses will be branded Ray-Ban and debut next year.
The Quest platform isn’t just for play, as Facebook previewed Infinite Office, a new set of productivity features, as well as an Oculus for Business ISV Directory, as well as making it easier for independent software vendors and companies to work together with the rollout later this year of business channels, enabling ISVs to deliver applications directly to headsets while company administrators retain control over deployments.
Messenger From Facebook will be added to the Quest platform in the coming months, making it easier for users to coordinate with friends and play together in VR.
The new Oculus Move unified dashboard will help Quest and Quest 2 owners track their fitness goals across their VR apps.
Facebook said over 600 million people use AR across its apps and devices each month, making its Spark AR the largest platform for mobile AR creation and discovery, used by more than 400,000 creators from 190 countries to publish over 1.2 million AR effects on Facebook and Instagram.
The social network said in the past three months, more than 150 accounts have seen their effects generate over 1 billion views, and Portal From Facebook and Messenger From Facebook will be opened up for Spark AR creator publishing next year.
Titles coming to Quest Gaming include Beat Saber Multiplayer, Jurassic World Aftermath, Myst, Star Wars: Tales From the Galaxy’s Edge, The Climb 2, and Warhammer 40,000 Battle Sister.
Also coming soon to the Quest platform is In Protest: Grassroots Stories From the Front Lines, a series of 360-degree videos that spotlights the unsung heroes responding to the recent race injustices in America.
On the research front, Facebook Reality Labs Research is exploring audio as one of several input/output modality for AR glasses.
The research group is also developing an electromyography (EMG) wristband that can read the signals on the motor neurons that run through the wrist to the hand and translate them into a digital signal that devices can understand in real-time.