Oculus Quest

If there is a technology that has overpromised and underdelivered more than AR/VR over the last five years, I am not sure what it is.

Facebook paid $2bn (or possibly more) for Oculus in the spring of 2014 and maybe a couple million Oculus headsets have been sold since then. And Facebook is reportedly continuing to spend billions more on Oculus.

So when is all of this investment going to pay off? Maybe sooner than people think.

Oculus Quest is a wireless (untethered) VR headset that shipped this spring and sells for $399 to $499 depending on how much memory you want.

In the past few weeks, a number of friends of mine have suggested I get a Quest (which I will do but have not yet done) and that I will be impressed by it.

I have long thought that an untethered headset that can deliver real VR experiences are what we need to unlock the VR market.

There aren’t many games or experiences for the Quest yet. Hopefully that will change soon.

Most technologies go through a cycle in which the promise is hyped up, followed by the reality setting in and going through a downturn. That has certainly been the case for AR/VR.

But it may well be that the technology is finally catching up to the promise in AR/VR. At least that is what the smartest people I know in this sector are telling me right now.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Dhru Purohit

    Excited to see how your experience is!

  2. William Mougayar

    FB is taking a page from the iPhone, with a premium priced product amd 64GB & 128GB versions (sounds familiar?).What I can’t wait for is geo-related applications, like browsing through an AirBnB home remotely, visiting a city or museum without being there, or plain video call virtual enhancements.

    1. sigmaalgebra

      To “browse through a home remotely”, someone must have already been there and done that, recorded the images, etc. or, maybe, have a person or robot doing the physical browsing while look at the results remotely.Right, with lots of 5G, at home, use VR to drive your Tesla down I-95!!!But, but, but, I thought that we had VR headsets long ago??? It was used by Darth Vader????

      1. William Mougayar

        yes, there are companies that are uploading the footage you need to view these homes. especially between Asia and North American markets.- almost like doing a video.See this: https://rubygarage.org/blog

        1. sigmaalgebra

          Turns out I’m moving and about to buy a house now. So, I’m house hunting.Now there are lots of pictures, still images, maybe 20 per house, likely taken with just a smartphone. To me, the pictures help a LOT. So do Google maps, Google Street View, Google satellite, and Web sites with lots of indexing.Sooooo, right, VR would also help a lot compared with before smartphones.But there are two biggie problems with VR for selling houses: (1) VR has to be like making a movie, and that is expensive. (2) The still images are so good and so cheap that for the seller VR would be a lot more expensive and not much better for the buyer. Or women trying to dress to attract a good husband have long known that two things are important, (1) what you show and (2) what you don’t show. Same for marketing copy. That really thorough VR could show more is not always desirable. Again, VR is movie making, and no way will that be cheap. Or, VR might be mostly sequential so would have 3 hours of video and the buyer would need a way to skip through seeing what detail they wanted — e.g., does the swivel joint in the kitchen sink faucet leak? Do all the locks on all the windows work? Are some of the windows stuck? Is there evidence of water damage under the kitchen sink? Does the oven broiler work? …. So, VR with all that detail all over the house would take hours. Then buyers would need a way to get to what they wanted to see and skip over the rest.More generally, for a good “immersive experience” that’s necessarily artistic movie making — call up Steven Spielberg and John Williams, spend $20 million, and sell the $500 K house!Heck, I wish the sellers would just have a copy of a professional inspection done, and those cost only about $500.Uh, maybe can get by without John Williams: For the buyer walking into their new house, there’s music for that:https://www.youtube.com/wat

  3. DH

    I’ve had an HTC Vive for a while and it’s great – but there’s something magical about the Oculus Quest. I think the real killer app will be local multiplayer support – with PC-based VR, local multiplayer isn’t feasible (need a PC for each headset). With Quest, you can have multiple people in the same room interacting with the virtual world and each other.

  4. awaldstein

    I need to experience this.Building value around experiential connections from sound to video to 3d in games and markets is the backstory of my career.Also thinking that in my current work, building value chains in environmental impact economies through NFTs, split screen visualization of the real experience, the real ecology is and more critical.Done today through cams and the like, tomorrow….maybe this is a channel.Thanks!

  5. TeddyBeingTeddy

    1) Hugo Barra is too good for it to fail – a good jockey2) Benedict Evans called it when he said VR [had to be wireless] to scale, here we are3) David Gardner FOOLishly talks about the Gartner hype cycle, it appears we’re in the “slope of enlightenment”4) Millennials want experiences over things, here you go5) HDR, 8k here with 16K coming, and camera technology (e.g. RED) combined with rendering speed, etc. make it work much better now. Content meets technology need.6) People want an escape from reality and addictive by nature, here you goBuy buy buy!!!

  6. leigh

    My son got an Occulus. It was cool and we like it but there definitely aren’t enough games on it and you really need a larger safe space as you end up walking around like a blind idiot. I will say, regardless of the cool factor, my son only really used it for the first month and when new people came around and really never picked it up again. It will end up in the basement I’m sure in our technology graveyard of unused toys.ps. not sure if it’s the quest bc I wouldn’t have bought it as i’m trying to get him OFF devices not buy him more but i swear my husband wanted it for himself! UPDATE: it was the go not the quest. My opinion still stands.

    1. William Mougayar

      “you end up walking around like a blind idiot.”LOL or waiving your hands like a maniac :)Seriously, have you tried a roller-coaster app with a VR headset? It was pretty real when I did.

    2. Antony Evans

      there’s a big difference between the go and rift/quest in terms of how engaging the product is long term. The extra degrees of freedom make a big difference

    3. No Spam

      Thanks for clarifying that this was the Go, as it ultimately supports the blog post’s message that iterations of VR before the Quest under-performed.The Quest addresses so many deficiencies of prior products (e.g., Go, Rift, Vive, etc.) that it really is different, and does have the potential to be a breakout hit – and one that is used far longer than a month.As for getting your kids off of devices, as a parent I feel your pain and support the effort. That said, try reinforcing a balance between using a device for creativity vs. consumption. Binge watching? Consumption. Writing fan fiction? Creation. Social media/memes? Consumption. Art, role play, programming? Creation.Some VR apps like Tilt Brush, Medium, or Gravity Lab are incredible creative experiences – as is learning Unity or Unreal to design and then “visit” your own spaces. You can even do these things together.If you find yourself in a power struggle about devices, sometimes a different approach that promotes healthy usage is better than fighting an ultimately losing battle.

  7. Richard

    Coincidence that Fred is pumping FB?Maybe? If only VR worked as a dream machine while sleeping, i would be excited. apps for trade schools? Until then, I’d rather be in Saratoga in August.I’m in SB and observing, it seems only a matter of time for the First class action suit against technology for the obesity epidemic.

  8. joewards

    I’ve hoped for XR to transform collaboration and gaming since I started listening to Voices of VR (a great podcast on the industry) a few years ago.Quest finally feels like we’re getting there. And the content is coming along, Beat Saber is the most fun I’ve had in gaming this side of Bond on N64, and apps like Big Screen, while cumbersome, give an interesting vantage point into what it might look like to work in immersive virtual environments.

  9. jason wright

    Is this thing safe, or would my health be at some risk?

  10. Laura Yecies

    I agree that there has been quite a bit of hype, certainly ahead of where the technology has been, on the consumer side but I see quite a lot of serious and productive use in the B2B world. My company SyncThink is using eye-tracking in VR for brain health assessment – we have dozens of clinics and sports teams using it and my understanding is that there are other successful B2B VR companies and use cases. Granted this is not the volume of users that would occur with B2C but there is real customer value being created.

  11. R Phillip Castagna

    If there is a technology that has overpromised and underdelivered more than AR/VR over the last five years, I am not sure what it is. Rhymes with “chalk Blaine”, Fred…

    1. fredwilson

      Don’t think so

      1. R Phillip Castagna

        I mean the parallels feel a bit overwhelming to me: early products that are tremendously exciting to their core base and even seeing real, significant economic value, but with very hazy and unclear roads to fulfilling their full promise and even hazier ideas of what the pitfalls and dangers really are?And yeah cryptocurrencies see magnitudes more trade volume than AR/VR products but CDS trading shows us that volume has at best a very loose correlation to true value generation when sophisticated financiers get involved.People with glass backboards shouldn’t toss the alley oop towards their own basket, is really what I’m saying, I think.

      2. TRoberts

        Large technological advances share a timeline feature of bankruptcy.It’s been said that bankruptcy happens very gradually, then suddenly.Likewise, new tech –> mass market ubiquity.For years, smart phone development was toiling diligently in the background, suddenly it seemed that were literally everywhere.Ex. on the horizon: VR/AR, BlockChain, immunotherapies / gene editing, etc.

  12. pointsnfigures

    Maybe that’s what the Knicks need-alternative reality.

    1. Michael Aronson

      ar app where you sit courtside and watch the knicks WIN

  13. brittblaser

    The most interesting investment in AR assumes Apple will deliver “iGlasses” that just work. When they do, the odds are they’ll acquire EssilorLuxottica, one of the world’s most aggressively vertically integrated companies: LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut, Apex by Sunglass Hut, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, Target Optical, Eyemed vision care plan, and Glasses.com, Ray-Ban, Persol, Oakley, etc. When Lenscrafters sells a pair of glasses, EssilorLuxottica buys some silica sand.Lenscrafters alone gives Apple another 9,000 retail points-of-presence where you can license your new glasses, so it also makes Apple one of the world’s largest vision plans.EssilorLuxottica’s stock probably won’t tank overnight if Apple doesn’t buy them, so it’s a pretty safe bet.

    1. Michael Aronson

      Know segment pretty well as investors in warby parker, lux has substantial integration issues with essilor purchase as well as general anti trust.On the other hand, apple glasses with a few warby styles could be very interesting, in many places the stores are practically next door

      1. Michael Aronson

        Check out the ar try in warby’s app, very cool , requires iphone x

    2. Kevin Russell

      Agreed. Been saying the same for years regarding Luxottica, and that all current VR platforms were evolutionary, not revolutionary, though Varjo IMHO,is revving to revolutionary.

  14. Mandava Prasad

    I do not think the VR will ever take off as long as one need to wear a Head Mounted Display. VR as a technology is a great tool when one can experience the immersion with out wearing a device. We do need something like Holography to bring VR to mainstream.

  15. Ryan Frew

    I have the Rift S and my favorite part about it is introducing the experience to friends. It is astoundingly immersive and invokes a childlike feling that we’re really living in the future. The only other current product where I see that same thrill for everyone is in a Tesla, for the first time. But the big takeaway with the Oculus, for me, has been this:Everyone who tries it, loves it. But no one says they need it.

  16. Roger Dickey

    “If there is a technology that has overpromised and underdelivered more than AR/VR over the last five years” – blockchain is either the worst offender or tied for worst, without a doubt

  17. matthewmclean

    VR will never enjoy commercial success in our lifetime. It has nothing to do with cost, cords, available games, or any of the other reasons from the endless list of excuses. The reason is because VR is ANNOYING. The 3D peeps loath the comparisons but both VR and 3D continue to fail for the same reasons. Our brains are very limited processors. (Like all processors …) Our brains have evolved hacks that give us the impression we have more processing power than we really have. VR and 3D interfere with those hacks and annoy all who use them for any length of time.

    1. sigmaalgebra

      There’s a case where VR can work now — the images seen are not real so don’t have to capture the images, make 3D movies, etc.A case of this is product design, say, a new building from an architect. Soooo, the architect enters the building into some software, and some more software can display, 3D, moving, any part of the building design at any angle, location, resolution, etc. For more, if building, say, a US military submarine, then take the plans of the submarine and follow the pipes, cables, beams, passage ways, etc.For now, for consumers, especially boys through, say, middle school, could have the images generated by game software, say, for some tank battle in the desert, the early hours of the Battle of the Bulge, airplane dog fights, etc.

  18. jason wright

    Vicarious voyeurism has extraordinary potential with this technology. Can’t wait.

  19. Matt Zagaja

    I think augmented reality is going to be the big winner and virtual reality is going to be relegated to games/entertainment (which is not nothing). It’s really convenient and uncannily awesome to be able to use augmented reality to place furniture in your room before you buy it. The Warby Parker eyeglasses app also does an uncanny job of glasses try on with an iPhone X or later. I think the key advancement is the availability of 3D sensing technologies and machine learning that can help our devices better understand the world. As a runner I long for the day that my augmented reality sunglasses will show me a pacer and the names/stats of folks I’m running by. I would love to race against an augmented reality version of myself.Another angle to think about is how augmented reality and machine learning are going to be the next DIY YouTube and customer support for major companies. For example imagine your dishwasher is broken. The manufacturer customer service AI will guide you through initial troubleshooting steps. It will use 3D sensing and AI to visually see and understand the condition of your dishwasher and whether parts are where they should be. If a screw or washer is out of place augmented reality pointers will guide you in fixing it on and around your actual unit. If a piece is broken or missing it will automatically identity that piece and give you the option to order it (or just offer to ship it if you’re under warranty).

  20. Steve Nicklin

    Even with the lowly Oculus Go I’ve seen friends get their minds blown with the limited “sat-down / single-handed” VR experience it delivers. The Quest takes this to another level – if we can just size realism/functionality to fit the horsepower/grunt of the Oculus Platforms (Quest and Go), consumer-VR will start to make an impact. One often missed angle is the ability to share with onlookers (and youtuber viewers) so its important that ‘screen sharing/recording’ is considered and available

  21. bfeld

    Feedback from a friend of mine deep in VR.it represents a material step forward for the VR sector, because it’s the first product with the “correct” form factor: No tether, with positional (6DOF) head/hand tracking.(Until now, there have been high-end headsets with positional head/hand tracking–but they’ve been tethered. And there have been low-end headsets with no tether–but they’ve had no positional head/hand tracking.)The main downside to it being a self-contained product is that the CPU power is around “high-end mobile”, so the graphics will be like a nice mobile game, but not the gorgeous graphics of a current console or PC game. But whatever, that’s not a deal-breaker.That said, I don’t think the Quest will be the specific product that makes VR finally explode; it will be the Quest v2, or equivalent from competitor, that offers better graphics, lower price point, and new affordances like eye tracking. That’s still a few years off. In the meantime, the Quest is an important product and worth spending some time with.One caveat: Oculus chose to go with integrated speakers, rather than headphones. I’m not a fan of this decision, because the result is tinny audio. I would recommend that if you buy the Quest, you also buy the optional earbud accessory, so at least you can have moderately improved audio. (Or you can use your own headphone for better sound. The main benefit of the Oculus accessory earbuds is just super-short cables for a more convenient use.)

  22. The Mogget

    The only reason I haven’t bought a Quest is because I can’t. It’s been persistently out-of-stock everywhere since it launched.If you expect the Quest to replace your computer, your cell phone, and your TV then you will be disappointed. The Quest is here to replace your Nintendo. As long as you keep that in mind, you will really like it. I have played Nintendo products my whole life, and I have like 4 working systems around my house right now…. but it all is beginning to taste stale. VR gaming offers a new way to game, and as long as it is convenient and light-hearted it will sell millions. Think of it like this…. Nintendo Wii -> PSVR -> Oculus Quest.Do not judge the VR market by the Vive’s of the world. PSVR sold double the units of the Vive. The Quest is going to sell triple the units the PSVR did. Is it going to sell tens of millions? No, but we are getting there. People like me are going to spend our Nintendo Switch money on the Quest and be pleased about it.

  23. impurekind

    Sorry but VR has absolutely not under-delivered in terms of the experience. AR, absolutely, yes it has under-delivered.