Written by Kajal Iyer
In our normal life, we live in different worlds on a day-to-day basis. There is a world that is our family, then there is our professional world and then there is our inner world. In our inner world, we can be stars of our own show, we can be warriors, we can live in a glorious past or dream up an improbable future. It is this inner world that until some time ago, virtual reality headsets targeted. The games on virtual reality headsets, were mostly fantasy games and adventure games. But of late, this has changed. VR googles, now aim to provide a fully immersive virtual reality experience that goes beyond just an extension of video game like thrills. Socialization, fitness and even office communications in the wake of the pandemic, is something VR headset companies are now offering.
While speaking to Poocho, a consumer insights company, for its survey on virtual reality games users in NYC, 34-year-old Jason said, “Immersion into a virtual world with your friends, that one’s fine, the virtual worlds part, you go somewhere else. But that is a very broad spectrum. That could be what you are doing, maybe not with friends, but its immersion into a virtual world.”
Just how broad can this spectrum be? The apps and experiences available on Oculus Quest2 could help us understand. The Oculus Quest 2 headset by Facebook costs around $300. Writing for Cnet.com Scott Stein comments on Oculus Quest 2, “Right now, this VR headset remains the most immersive piece of mixed reality tech Facebook has -- and it can truly become more."
The headset is white in colour and comes with controllers. Setting it up is easy. You download the app on your phone, connect the app and the headset. You take the controllers in your hand and then you can see them virtually. Download any game you’d like to play and you can start off. The headset need not be tethered and it has a USB C type port for charging. The battery lasts around 3 hours. It comes with a 6GB RAM and has both 128 GB and 256 GB variants.
The Oculus Quest 2 offers a wide variety of games and experiences. If you are looking for Halloween chills, then it has a new set of Halloween themed games like the Resident Evil series. Oculus Quest 2 also offers Fitness options, take one of the popular games Beat Saber that comes loaded with Billie Eilish music. It is a game that requires its participants to move around tackling obstacles with a virtual saber to thrilling music. Supernatural another game where users tackle obstacles but with much more movement and a wide variety of backgrounds is another fitness game. A techcrunch.com report quotes Mark Zuckerberg on Oculus Quest 2’s fitness apps, “It’s kind of like a Peloton, but instead of your bike you just have your VR headset and with it you can do anything from boxing lessons to sword-fighting to even dancing.”
Neel, a 20-year-old participant in Poocho's study and an Oculus Quest 2 user, narrated his experience of playing fitness games, “I think it’s called The Climb, that was a rock climbing game. That gaming experience was really fun at first, it’s like you are climbing on a cliff. And there’s really nice views and everything. Another popular game I tried was Beat Saber that really felt satisfying.”
Oculus Quest 2 is said to be one of the major parts of Facebook’s push towards Metaverse. The company hopes to provide more immersive shared experiences to its users through this new concept and Facebook claims some of the experiments it has done with Oculus Quest 2 are the stepping stones towards it. Take for example the productivity apps available on Oculus Quest 2. Spatial, Meeting VR and Horizon workrooms are apps that provide immersive office experiences for meetings, presentations and brainstorming sessions. The team members can interact in a virtual 3D space through their avatars.
Oculus Quest 2 also provides recreational experiences like meditation through VR (Tripp app, Where thoughts go app), creativity experiences like Pottery VR and Colour Space and even travel experiences like Wander app, National Geographic VR and Apollo 11 Quest.
The downside though is that some of these games do get repetitive and Oculus Quest 2 users like Neel and Eric told Poocho that doing it with friends gets tough due to co-ordination and space constraints. “It’s hard to convince friends to play because we are just playing the same game over and over. So for the most part, I just play by myself,” says Neel. “That’s (space is) a massive thing. Because if my friends have, or even if I did have two headsets for my friends, to play in my apartment there is not enough space in my Brooklyn apartment for us to play together,” Eric adds.
All in all, compared to other similar headsets in the market, Oculus Quest 2 does score high on innovative gaming and socialization experiences and ease of use.
*Participant name is changed to protect identity.