Do you like your Oculus Quest? Share the pros and cons, please!
August 23, 2021 10:23 AM   Subscribe

The Oculus Quest 2 (no computer tether necessary) relaunches a 128GB version tomorrow for $299. I have played with VR once and it was a ton of fun, and I think I want to get one. But the tie to Facebook and the general gimmicky-ness of VR has me second-guessing. Do you have an Oculus? If so, can you share your impressions/reviews/advice about it and how you use it? All anecdata is most welcome.
posted by AgentRocket to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I bought an Oculus Quest 2 for my partner’s son last month and not only has he been loving it, so has everyone else who has tried it on, including me. since this is your first real venture into VR, as it was for us, you’ll be amazed. It’s a much more exciting experience than you’ll get from a regular console that costs twice as much.

Without a PC, you’ll miss out on some popular games like Resident Evil 7, but the Oculus library has plenty of good and surprisingly sophisticated games, including multiplayer.

Con: The kid often moves furniture out of the way in the living spaces to make more room to flail about in, but doesn’t push it back unless told to!
posted by ejs at 10:56 AM on August 23, 2021

Best answer: I'm a software and hardware developer who was involved with some of the academic research that evolved into today's consumer VR hardware, and I spend a moderate amount of time in VR these days, mainly in flying and driving simulation titles. Oculus anything is a hard no from me. I dislike this situation because untethered VR is great, but I value not being at the whims of Facebook more than I value avoiding a cable. Highly recommend you take a look at HTC and Valve's options (which include wireless transceivers, though those still require a computer with a reasonable video card). You'll pay a little more but you'll be outside the Facebook walled garden.
posted by Alterscape at 11:04 AM on August 23, 2021 [6 favorites]

Best answer: I think it depends on the occasion. I'm a gamer. I like to play games with friends online.

The oculus quest has been an amazing experience. The feeling of presence, and flow, in VR is so much more than any other medium.

But... the existence of presence in VR precludes one thing - the people around you. It's incredibly isolating to put on a headset. It's marketing like a fun thing to do with family, or a fun thing to do with friends, but realistically, when someone is in VR it completely blocks out everything else in the world.

So, I tried to fix this. I bought two headsets. Now, we can be in VR together!

Except, VR is such a new medium. There's just not robust multiplayer experiences. Well, there are. But, not as robust as the pick-the-best-from-20,000-games we have in the rest of the gaming world. There's no nintendo. The cross platform games that exist are... wonky at best. Parties and voice chat are... lackluster.

So... I sold the second. The first has sat unused for months. When I want to solo game, I usually want to sit on a couch and think and move very little. When I want to game with friends, nothing beats getting on a computer with discord. There's a game like portal, narrated by sir patrick stewart. Beat saber is insanely fun and worth the whole device. The free experience of echo vr, which is online and competitive sport, is insanely fun. I do recommend it.

But I don't think it will replace any traditional gaming activity. It's just... not the right medium for traditional gaming.

Facebook integration never bothered me. It's much smoother than vive/HTC operations that are more expensive and require base stations (quest does inside out, and does it very, very well).
posted by bbqturtle at 11:05 AM on August 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: In all fairness, I am kind of weird about most things, so I would definitely only consider me one data point, but I like it.
I haven't played it in a while but my wife uses it for the VR workouts, my kid plays the Rec Room and some other games and I've mostly just shot zombies. Pretty fun though. I'm just lazy and hate having to stand up all the time to play it and also clear out the furniture in the living room so I don't trip and kill myself.

I also have the playstation VR and I honestly think they are a world apart, not being tied to the console really makes a difference.

The facebook tie-in and whatnot is kind of annoying but only in the sense that it's one more reminder that I'm selling my privacy one small piece at a time every day.
posted by BeReasonable at 11:12 AM on August 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have one, and I love it. I use it mostly for rhythm games, which are ridiculously fun in VR. My roommates also have it and we play Beat Saber together from different rooms, which sounds stupid and is a blast. I also love all the exploration games, and that you can cast what you're doing to the app and people can see what you're seeing.

I work from home and have the set near my work desk, and use Beat Saber as a quick break when I'm getting too fried with what I'm working on. 15 minutes with the headset on and I'm energized and in a good mood again.

Facebook was and is a huge downside for me, but the experience outweighs that.
posted by current resident at 11:15 AM on August 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: We have one. We love it, but there's never enough hours in a day so it's kind-of a rainy day thing in our house.

I hate the Facebook tie-in as well, but it's tied to my Facebook account, and ... I never had a Facebook account before I signed in for the headset to work. But things like rhythm games and hang-gliding are very immersive, and it doesn't take a lot to get started. Also my kids like the 3D drawing games too; it's a novel vocabulary for them.
posted by adekllny at 11:19 AM on August 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I really only use mine for Supernatural--which you have to do a monthly subscription for on top of buying the Oculus and letting Facebook have your info. But I love it SO MUCH. It's my favorite way to exercise. The game makes great use of the expansive surrounding images, the workouts are really engaging, and the coach voiceovers are encouraging without being too intrusive in the flow. It's similar to Beat Saber, but the emphasis is on full body movements rather than just hitting targets. (I do use an anti-fog spray on the lenses, because otherwise they fog up and it's no fun. I think you're technically not supposed to use sprays on the headset but the fogging was driving me up the wall.)

I also like the roller coaster apps because they mess with my sense of balance and spatial perception so effectively. There's also a promo for a new game called Superhot, which isn't something I'd typically go for, but when I tried the preview, having human-sized figures coming at me was way more affecting than I would have expected. I could imagine that being fun for someone who enjoys FPS games. Oh, and the immersive videos can be fun, too--like scuba diving footage, etc.
posted by theotherdurassister at 11:22 AM on August 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Gamer son got one a few months ago, doesn't use it tons, but it is a blast for the price and he's happy with it. Was a bit of future shock to do a curbside order at Wal-Mart for a VR headset and a pack of flour tortillas.

I'm not much of a gamer, but I love it to just peruse VR YouTube – like a tourist's walk though of the Hagia Sophia, concerts from the club stage, hang gliding in the Alps or watching African elephants walk by – stuff I can't yet do again or am unlikely to ever do. Even non-VR videos can be impressive "scaled up" to a movie theatre size. Son was never on Facebook so that does mitigate the tie-in somewhat.
posted by bendybendy at 12:12 PM on August 23, 2021

Best answer: > Beat saber is insanely fun and worth the whole device

Same for me -- it's just an appliance to play Beat Saber with, which is worth it. The thing about being tetherless and self-contained is I can be working from home in my living room, throw on the headset and whack things with sticks for 5 minutes, and go back to work. It's great as engaging exercise if you're stuck in quarantine or otherwise just need to get somewhere different for short breaks, and for this usecase anything with more setup would be a dealbreaker for me.

I have the first-gen Quest, so the second gen may be better, but for me the sweet spot of this thing is light exercise. I find the hardware barely good enough -- a little heavy and a little hard to keep adjusted so it doesn't cause eye strain and a little low rez, all of which makes it not that appealing for contemplative experiences or heavy exercise, but Beat Saber is right in the middle where those disadvantages fall away and it just feels great to do.

Given it's just a Beat Saber appliance I've decided not to worry too much about the Facebook requirement, but it's too bad that the first device with this featureset has that limitation. One saving grace at least is if you have a decent gaming PC you can use Air Link to stream PC VR games wirelessly, which would have less for Facebook to snoop on -- though I haven't tried it.
posted by john hadron collider at 12:36 PM on August 23, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: It's been a brilliant way for my mom, her sisters, and some cousins (ages ranging from 30s to 70s) to get together and play games almost every day over the past year while everyone's remained isolated because of Covid. During winter it was also a good way to exercise indoors. Not needing a PC is a big plus, since some people don't have high-powered computers at home. I think my mom was leery of tying it to her Facebook account initially, but in practice it hasn't been a big concern for her.

I've tried it several times and found Beat Sabre to be extremely addictive - when I've visited I stayed up late for hours playing it. A couple other games like ping pong are also fun and feel pretty realistic. In general, however, I find a lot of the games are a little too rudimentary for my taste (and I'm not a very sophisticated gamer).
posted by theory at 1:04 PM on August 23, 2021

Best answer: I own a Quest 2, and have since it launched in Oct 2020. When I first bought it, I didn't have a PCVR setup, but did buy one in January. I owned my first VR system, PSVR, in late 2017.
A few weeks after owning PSVR, pancake gaming (2d on a monitor/TV) became dead to me.

Firstly, Q2 native (I.E. not PCVR) is so much better than PSVR. With PSVR, there was a "start up ritual" - leave the headset on, but positioned flat for the gyros to stabalize. Same wtih the PS move wands. Sanity check the position of the camera; a slight bump to the TV would ruin the play space. Oh, and plan if you want to sit or stand, because you need different camera positions for both. Carefully layout the cable from where it was put so it wouldn't get twisted, and put on the shoulder strap harness I made to help hold the cable out of the way. Long story short (too late), it would take about 5 minutes to transition from "I'm going to play PSVR" to "I'm playing PSVR." Sure, it's only 5 minutes, but that becomes a large mental block.

Secondarily wireless can't be underestimated. With PSVR, because it had to be by the playstation, my play space had a brick fireplace to my left, and a ceiling fan on my right. Yeah, I was lucky to only have a few scraped knuckles.

With the Quest 2, I take it out of the cabinet I keep it in. Possibly I setup a fan on the coffee table in front of me if I'm playing a more active game. The I put on the headset, and I'm ready to play.

Q2 native is much more sharp than PSVR is, albeit PSVR can render more complex graphics than Q2. As soon as I turned on the Q2 once, I never touched the PSVR again. Not even to do an A/B comparison that I meant to.

While I've bought a lot of games (sigh), admittedly 90% of my playtime is with 2 games, slightly becoming 3 games getting that 90%. Synth Riders (SR) is my favourite, most played game. Some nights it's just 1-2 hours of just this. Recently I (re)purchased Beat Saber (BS), so I sometimes use this as a 20-30min warm up for SR.

The amount of play time for both of these, is that the movements of your body to play the games is fun, as well as some high score/skill chasing. BS is more about precision wrist movements, while SR requires much more reaching and larger arm movements. SR feels a lot more "dance-y". BS will get me warm, but SR will leave me sweaty to the point that even with a box fan blowing in front of me, I've made this so I don't need to take off the headset to desweat my face every other song. I'll note that BS on Quest needs to be modded to get custom songs (and there was recently a period of months where the mods weren't working with the updates to the game). SR doesn't require any modding for custom songs. However there's a much smaller community making SR maps; about 3,000+ custom songs vs BS's 85,000+ .

My second most played game by time is In Death Unchained (it's more fun than it initially looks; I only bought it because so many people said they liked it). It's a roguelike game, so the play throughs change just enough that replays don't feel stale. Especially the second world, Paradise Lost has a lot of open space, and flying cupids, so you really need to look up and around, as well as behind you as you move forward. A lot of games are based upon humans not doing a lot of looking up, or down. IDU is particularly fun as you need to keep remembering that there's death from above waiting to happen. It also has a siege mode which is also fun, but you're stationary on a platform shooting at the masses. I just like the roguelike part of it a lot more.

I mentioned that I've also got PCVR, and a number of the games I have are CrossBuy (which means if you own them for Quest Native or PCVR on Rift store, you get the other free). Quest 2, running on a mobile chip, can really render as well as the screen can handle. PCVR (with a really good video card), can. Text looks so much clearer; with a well done game there aren't jaggy diagonal lines. What I'm getting at, is that for any game that I've got a choice between taking the 30 seconds to connect AirLink and stop mining to get the resolution bump, I'm taking it. But at the same point when there was a bad firmware update (v30) that wrecked AirLink for most users, I didn't have a problem going back to the native version. And have games with no PC counterpart (In Death Unchained), I have no regrets upon starting/playing it.

There's definitely some good games on PCVR, but at this point I'm really glad that the system has paid for itself via crypto mining (hate the game, not the player), because compared to the value from $400 CDN for the Q2, the value for the $1700 CDN gaming system isn't there in my mind. HL:Alyx is absolutely beautiful, and anyone with PCVR must play it (and I'm generally not a fan of first person shooters), but given how I actually spend my time, it's mostly just a nice bump in graphics for my Synth Riders machine.

I'd say don't get a Quest 2 if you're the sort of person who goes through games quickly in a one and done sense; looking for something to beat, and then looking for the next absolutely gorgeous game to shred in 10-40 hours. Quest games just aren't there. There's only a few Quest games that you get 10+ hours of play (excluding replay). There's only few games in VR period that one could call AAA level of graphics, and they're all PCVR only.

The Quest store doesn't have sales as often as Steam or PSVR did, and rarely has price drops deeper than 30% off, so be ready for that.

The main "tip" would be get a 3rd party headstrap. I own and really like this halo strap (AKA upgraded GoMRVR knock off). Others like the BoboVR one (but some think the head things dig in), while others like the ones with rigid ears that look similar to the Elite strap. I'd advise against getting the Elite. I had it, and while I liked the halo better, the Elite wasn't bad per say. However it seems like about 5% of elite straps will break in a few months; even with really careful usage. While Oculus has raised the warranty period in the US for it to 2 years, they haven't redesigned the strap, and ones made as recently as July have cracked, showing the still haven't redesigned it. You need your receipt for your headset or strap from Oculus, so be sure to save it.

Second tip is that an "about 2 hour" battery life is not enough. Get any USB battery charger that can charge via the usb-c port, get a 1.5 foot (or longer) ucb-c cable with a 90 degree bend, and strap that battery to the back of your headstrap. 1) the rear counterweight makes any* headstrap more comfortable, and 2) my 20 AH battery adds 8 hours of play time. Not that I think I've ever played longer than 4 hours, but running out of battery is stupid.

Get a cheap yoga mat, or a fatigue mat to help keep you centered in your play space. If a game involves a lot of arm swinging and movement, consider re-drawing your guardian to be a bit smaller, so you get warnings sooner before you hit the wall.

Last tip: if you have a TV in your playspace (especially if it's a large one), decide that the "front" of your play space is facing *away* from the TV. While some games like IDU have one spinning, others will be so you don't spin much, but you might lean/walk forward. Or even worse; a boxing game. Creed and Thrill of the Fight have probably destroyed a lot of TV's because someone tried to jump forward and pull a superman punch. Start out facing away from the TV.

* tested on default, Elite and upgraded GoMRVR halo
posted by nobeagle at 1:28 PM on August 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have a first gen Quest, but no longer use it because I'm not on Facebook. The one thing I really liked doing on it was BoxVR. It's a super fun fitness workout, and I definitely missed it when I had to give it up. What I didn't miss was the weight of the headset and the sweat soaked band.
posted by Morpeth at 2:46 PM on August 23, 2021

Best answer: Love mine, for the same reasons many others have said - I use it for Supernatural (workout in VR), Beat Saber, Audio Trip, Synth Rider - basically allllll the rhythm games. (Those of you just using it for Superatural and Beat Saber would probably really like Audio Trip and Synth Rider too!) Great fun and great workouts, though Supernatural is the only one actually designed for exercise. I would have thought a VR headset wouldn't work for me, because I used to get so sick playing Super Metroid I'd have to go throw up and then lie down, but for some reason it doesn't usually trigger motion sickness for me the way games on a flat screen do.

Lately I've also tried Walkabout Mini Golf, which was amazingly fun, and Eleven Table Tennis - also fantastic and strangely addictive.

I think the joy of VR is the sensation of moving through space, but a strange and engaging "other" space that is in some way foreign or distant - something you would not be exposed to in your day to day life. Manipulating virtual objects, feeling the feedback in the hand grips, holding and examining things - it's just deeply interesting and entertaining. Puzzle games are my second-favorite - things like The Room, where you're grabbing and manipulating and examining things.

This extends to some of actual gamer-games I've played on the Oculus 2 - like Wraith, the Blair Witch game, and Red Matter. These are sort of mysteries, sort of horror, and while occasionally a bit clunky, still a lot of fun.

The only real limitation I feel in the headset is that after not too long - maybe an hour? - the headset starts to hurt my nose and forehead and cheeks. I'm probably wearing it wrong. I am a small person with a small face, but even the smallest of the face cushions is a bit off for me.
posted by invincible summer at 6:23 PM on August 23, 2021

Best answer: Everyone else has covered most of the high points.

I had a Quest 1 I bought somewhat on a whim. Pre-ordered the 2 and gave away my 1. Have given away a lot of these things to friends who would be interested but never buy it for themselves.

I find it amazing.

I hate facebook as much as anyone. I never had a facebook account. I had to make one for the 2. It's fine. I still don't use facebook and haven't friended anyone.

It's more limited than a full PCVR setup, sure. But at $300 (like nobeagle above, I now have a PC for VR, but didn't when I first got it, and honestly fire it up more stand-alone than for PCVR), it's a flat out steal.

Sure, the rhythm are the proverbial "killer app" that most people will enjoy. But what's amazing to me is how differently friends who I've gifted one to use theirs.

One just likes the immersive videos and Wander (basically Google streetview). Especially during covidtimes, she likes it for traveling the world from home. Hasn't purchased a single game.

A few others use it for exercise. Thrill of the Fight and Supernatural are legit workouts.

Still others use it for meditation/relaxation/decompression. There are a few on the store, and others in the "app lab" (kind of a alternate store where apps that haven't been fully approved can be found).

I lean more towards the gamer side of the spectrum, though I use it for all of those things as well. As nobeagle mentioned, In Death is a surprisingly compelling game. Swarm is "spiderman with guns" and is one of the most fun things I've ever experienced. I use it nearly every day.

I'd say get one. If you don't like it, I'll buy it from you for full price. I'm 100% serious about that.

They're running a promo right now where if someone refers you, you both get $30 in credit at the store, DM me or someone here if you want a referral.

(for comfort, I have the VR Cover facial interface (highly recommended) and I also got the elite strap with battery. The elite strap breaks every ~3-4 months and they send you a new one (2 year warranty). I haven't tried the other 3rd party straps, but the straps it ships with are not comfortable. Default sound is good, but headphones are better. I have these for travel: (only work with elite strap) but good headphones for home use. DM if you have any other questions.)
posted by booooooze at 11:15 AM on August 24, 2021

Response by poster: Thanks so much to everyone for their helpful input. If you are reading this in the future, I bought one and so far it RULES. Super easy to use and fully immersive in a unique way. I love Synth Riders (custom songs are awesome) and Beat Saber and Superhot, and showing my parents their old house(s) in full VR on Wander was a trip. I made a special Facebook login - no friends, no activity, no nothing on regular old FB, not logged in anywhere but the Quest - and that has not been an issue at all.
posted by AgentRocket at 1:03 PM on September 13, 2021 [1 favorite]

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