Oculus, Facebook’s virtual reality arm, is developing a successor to its mid-tier Quest headset, reports Bloomberg. The upgraded model’s headline feature is expected to be a lighter and smaller design that will be more comfortable to wear for prolonged sessions. While the social network giant has likely accelerated development, the new Quest will still potentially face delays due to the impact of the coronavirus on the supply chain.
The new Quest VR headset is said to feature improvements in a range of features. In addition to an exterior that will be about 10%-15% smaller than the existing Quest, it will have a faster image refresh rate “for more realistic content,” people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. Plus, Facebook is reportedly testing 120Hz rendering — up from the current Quest’s 60Hz — but could end up capping it at 90Hz to preserve battery life.
Facebook is considering replacing the fabric found on the Quest’s sides with a more plastic-like material similar to the Oculus Rift S. The next Quest’s straps will possibly be more elastic for a better fit.
The $399 Oculus Quest sits in the middle of Oculus’ line of VR headsets between the more expensive and advanced Oculus Rift S and the portability-focused and view-only Oculus Go. Quest is a standalone gaming virtual headset, which means it doesn’t need to be constantly connected to a phone or a computer.
In addition, Oculus is redesigning the controllers to make them more ergonomic for a comfortable grip and mending an issue with the first-gen model where the battery cover periodically slides off during active gameplay. The new controller will be compatible with the existing Quest as well, and customers will be able to buy it separately.
What’s more, the second-gen Quest will have the same set of four external cameras, a physical switch for adjusting interpupillary distance, and support for Oculus Link, a cable that lets users plug the Quest into a computer for better performance.
Bloomberg says Facebook is planning to launch the new Quest by the end of this year around its annual Oculus Connect conference. But because of the pandemic, orders likely won’t begin shipping until 2021.
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