As goofy as virtual reality goggles look, that’s likely not the reason you don’t own a pair. Bigger problems have been complexity, cost, limited apps, and low-res hardware. But the Oculus Quest represents what a mobile gaming experience should be: a stand-alone system that uses intuitive controllers to turn your movements into onscreen interactions. It’s VR gaming that’s ready when you are—no console, WiFi, or strings attached.
With the Quest, Facebook-owned Oculus redeems itself for the limitations of past systems. It ditches the involved setup of the original Oculus Rift’s external sensors and tether—plugged into a pricey gaming computer—and the limited hardware capability of the Go model. These new goggles use higher-resolution displays—1,440 x 1,600 per eye—to improve the look of the games. And they include full freedom of movement for better engagement with virtual worlds: walking around in the game instead of just turning your body 360 degrees. Here, the field of view still feels a bit like you’re looking through tubes, but the resolution and fast processor generate such astoundingly good, glitch-free game play that it’s a fair trade-off. The Quest can stream your view to a TV or tablet, which helps others watch, and makes VR less of a solitary experience.
Does flailing around the living room with your eyes covered worry you? Oculus embeds a safety feature: Outline an area on the floor with the controller. Then if you breach the box, your view switches to the headset’s forward-facing camera.
Eventually VR goggles will feel weightless, with fields of view that match human eyesight. But the Quest is the best case we’ve seen for jumping into VR right now.
[From $399; oculus.com]Get it
Oculus games run the gamut, but these will keep you coming back after the novelty of virtual reality wears off.
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