Reality, circa 2019: A tough pill to swallow again and again and again.
Virtual reality, 2019: Really better than ever, actually.
It's an unfair comparison to make, sure, but it's one we're making, anyway—if only to celebrate the forthcoming Oculus Quest. Coming this spring, it's the first all-in-one VR system from the Facebook-owned company, which means it's easier than ever to quite literally disappear into a world that isn't real to avoid having to face the onslaught of anxieties minor and existential plaguing contemporary American life! (Woof.)
It would appear...yes, you have questions. We have answers.
Well, first thing's first: when does the Quest actually come out?
[Gulps] We don't know. We mean, they're positive it's spring. And they've just started a rather vague countdown on their site. And they're offering demos for journalists this month. But the actual date is uncertain. That said: you can give them your email to be the first to be notified of its arrival.
Suspicious. But, okay. How much does it cost?
$399. For comparison's sake, the Go—Oculus's most basic, not-really-for-gaming headset runs you $199, while the new Rift S—also coming in spring 2019, but which requires a PC—is also $399.
What does "all-in-one" really mean?
Back in the ol' days of VR (not that long ago), you had to pair the Oculus to your PC in order to really play games and stuff. Not the case anymore: with just the Quest headset and the controllers, you can pick up and play anywhere (although you should probably just stick to rooms in homes).
Are there wires? Because the thing is, I hate wires.
Don't worry: Everything is completely wireless.
Phew. So without wires, is there some other technological innovation they've developed to track my movements?
Very perceptive of you. Yes. Along with the Quest, they're also unveiling Oculus Insight, which allows the machine to track your precise position—as you shift, duck, slash, punch—in real time without having to rely on external sensors. It uses fancy advents like "ultra-wide angle sensors" and "computer vision algorithms" to accomplish this, giving you a greater sense of immersion. And if you're worrying about whether or not you might bump into shit while you're waving your controllers around, they've also incorporated something called Guardian, which places wall and floor markers in your applications to help keep you within the game (and off your wall).
If I'm used to playing on the Oculus Rift, will I have a hard time adapting to the Quest?
No. With the exception of some very minor differences, the controllers are effectively the same.
What kind of games will I actually be playing with this thing?
They'll have more than 50 titles at launch, some of which—like the first-person cartoon shooter Supershot VR and the ever-addicting Beats Saber—have been available for previous headsets, and some of which—like Vader Immortal, a new Star Wars episodic series where you get to wield a lightsaber—are brand new.
So during Vader Immortal...am I coming face-to-face with Vader himself?
Yes. You'll practically be able to feel his breath on your neck. It was created by the same folks involved with Alejandro G. Iñárritu's haunting, Oscar-winning installation, Carne y Arena.
Should I be scared?
We suppose that depends on how well you handle your lightsaber.