The Oculus Quest 2 has been a huge success in the world of VR, but attention is already turning to the prospect of the Oculus Quest 3.
Since Mark Zuckerberg commented on plans already being underway earlier this year, the clamour has been growing for further details. The rumour mill has been working hard, but solid facts remain scarce.
So with that in mind, here's a round-up of everything being whispered on the streets. If by streets, we mean the internet.
Will there be an Oculus Quest 3?
We already know that Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed that discussions have been held about what comes next for Oculus. Just five months after the release of the Quest 2, Zuckerberg said:
We have product teams spun up now working on the next few generations of virtual reality and what Quest 3 and 4 are gonna look like.
This is pretty firm evidence of plans being made for a future line-up. That being said, the Quest 2 has been a hugely successful product, so they won't be in a hurry to replace it soon. Plans like this will probably be drawn up years in advance. Nevertheless, there has already been speculation over what to expect and when.
Oculus Quest 3 Release Date
In terms of a release date, there are some reasonable estimates we can make for the Oculus Quest 3. The Quest 2 followed on from the original Quest about 18 months later. So we certainly shouldn't expect the Quest 3 before this. That means 2022 is looking like a strong candidate for a possible release date.
Given the release of PSVR 2 won't be in 2021, we expect that to come out next year as well. It's unlikely Oculus would want the Quest 2, by then almost 2 years old, to be competing against a newer, potentially much more advanced rival.
There are similar rumours about Apple VR being anticipated next year as well. If Oculus really does aim to be the number one player in this field, then they really won't be able to allow both Sony and Apple to release newer products, without some sort of response.
Facebook Vice President Andrew Bosworth did drop a hint about a Quest Pro being the next product off the Oculus production line. Watch this space to see what really comes next.
Oculus Quest 3 Specs
At this stage, it's really hard to guess what the specifications of a new Quest might be. But there are some baseline numbers we can be reasonably confident on.
We can expect one new Quest VR headset to have at least a 120Hz refresh rate, given that the Quest 2 is now offering this as standard. By then, we may also see a much wider variety of games and apps that will actually support this.
There are also intriguing things happening with other VR manufacturers, which we may see incorporated into new VR headsets. Light-field imagery is one example of this, which would more accurately represent what we would see in the real world.
Beyond these hints, it really is speculation. We would hope for better battery life, improved movement tracking, and increased haptic feedback. But we'll have to wait and see.
Oculus Quest 3 Price
This is another factor that is impossible to know at this stage. The Quest 2 is priced at £299 or £399 depending on how much storage you want. This was cheaper than the original Quest headset, but there is a limit to how cheap they can go.
The PS5 cost $100 than the PS4 Pro at launch, while the Xbox Series X launched at the same price as its predecessor, the Xbox One X. If they are packing in lots of new tech, we can probably expect Oculus will follow a similar trajectory.
Of course, if PSVR 2 and Apple VR are also being released, that's another factor Oculus will have to take into account when deciding on a price point. Do they price to make a loss on the hardware, and try to recoup that in software sales? Or do they cover their costs on the hardware, but risk losing market share if Sony or Apple decide to be more aggressive?
There's so much we still don't know. But one thing we can be confident about is that VR is shaping up to become a pretty competitive space, which can only be a good thing for consumers.
Update: Leak Suggests Oculus Quest Pro In The Works
The recent announcement by Sony confirming the PlayStation VR2 has fired shots in the battle for next-gen VR supremacy. The Quest 2 has been by far the bestselling VR headset on the market. But with an upcoming new rival that promises some pretty impressive specs, Oculus cannot afford to rest on its laurels.
So it may not be a total surprise that a leak appears to confirm the imminent release of an Oculus Quest Pro, with the Quest 3 coming in 2023. First mentioned by Brad Lynch (an extended reality analyst) on Twitter, and then picked up by Android Central, there is plenty to cover, so let's get into it.
The rumoured Quest Pro, which is currently codenamed Cambria, is slated for release in Q2 of 2022, so sometime between April and June. This is consistent with when Meta (who used to be plain old Facebook) tend to hold their developer conference. At their Connect 2021 event, Project Cambria was discussed in more detail. Its release was already confirmed in 2022, but there was nothnig more specific on that front. They also confirmed that it won't be a replacement for the Quest 2, or a Quest 3. Instead:
Project Cambria will be a high-end device at a higher price point, packed with all the latest advanced technologies, including improved social presence, color Passthrough, pancake optics, and a lot more
According to Mr Lynch, this includes MiniLED screens. Combined with pancake optics (which allow for a slimmer device because of how they 'fold' light) this could equate to a much thinner and lighter VR headset. We'll keep looking for more details. But there is a teaser trailer available, if you want to watch it.
But What About The Quest 3?
The Quest 3 is rumoured to be using an upgraded OLED display. Perhaps most significantly, the expectation is that the headset won't be announced until the Meta Connect event in 2023, with release expected soon after. Connect events typically happen in September or October. So we could still be a long way out from a Quest 3 release.
In addition, the reports indicate that Meta is working on its own proprietary chipset, in an effort to find something that is optimised for VR. The Quest 2 uses the Snapdragon XR2 chip. The XR3 chip is expected to be available by the end of 2023. If true, this is a big decision by Meta, to step away from Qualcomm produced chips.
Obviously, these are rumours at this stage. So bear that in mind, and wait for an official announcement from Meta for definitive details. But if this information is correct, we are looknig at a Quest Pro in mid-2022, and a Quest 3 at the tail end of 2023.