About a month ago, Oculus released Oculus Quest, a standalone virtual reality (VR) head mounted display. It was the first real wow effect I’ve had with VR since 2014.
We got our first VR device, Oculus Rift developer kit 2, to our office in late 2014. It didn’t come with hand controllers and it needed a sturdy computer to run experiences. But boy it was fun! Since then, we’ve been testing these and other VR devices internally, as well as demoing the coolest experiences to our customers and partners. We’ve been prototyping and piloting with VR for years and we are very soon about to complete our biggest project yet.
Demoing different experiences
One of the most memorable events was when my colleague Joonas and I were demoing the capabilities of VR to several hundred customer employees. Pretty quickly the Richie’s Plank Experience became the hot topic for the whole event (we were just a small part of that event). In that experience you need to walk a virtual plank at the top of a skyscraper. We had brought with us an actual physical plank, which we set up to match the virtual placement. This helped to really fool people’s brains and made the experience twice as fun. There was a lot of screaming, laughing and cursing.
We did the demo with Vive Pro, which at the time was the best device for the demos. However, Vive Pro, as many other previous devices needed a gaming computer and wires connecting to it. Of course we could have used a lower end device with no cables, but those were really not up to the task performance or graphics wise. The VR devices from various manufacturers had surely developed, but with small steps. And never again did I get that wow effect that I had with my first runs with the first Oculus Rift development kit.
Enter Oculus Quest
Until last spring. We had been looking forward to Oculus Quest ever since Oculus revealed more information about it in 2018. As soon as it was released, we got a bunch to our office. And finally something cool!
Not cool as in new technology, though. There had been standalone VR devices before, there had been inside-out tracking, 360 controllers, etc, but Oculus Quest packaged the best parts of all of them into one. They’ve also done a great job with the software. Oculus Quest is the first VR device that I’d be happy to recommend to my mum.
When we did the setup for customer demos with the Vive Pro, we needed to reserve half an hour to setup the machine, trackers, etc. With Oculus Quest, we could do the same in minutes, including the plank setup. The setup and usage all happens inside the VR experience and is intuitive. My 8 years old son is already using it without any assistance. It’s small and handy to carry with you to any customer meetings or demos.
Soon we’ll be happy to tell more about our largest virtual reality project so far. It has been under works since last autumn. Until then, if you want to try out and discuss how virtual reality could help your company or brand, drop me a line! I’ll be happy to tell more.