In this new segment, we bring you the last week’s highlights from within the immersive tech industry.
So this week has all been about the excitement around Facebook Connect and the imminent release of the new Quest headset, which has been creatively titled the Quest 2. Thousands flocked to the live stream and viewed the event in VR via the venues app, eager to find out more about the new iteration. To be honest, unless you've been living under a rock for the last few weeks, you wouldn't have learned a whole lot of new info. Apart from maybe the surprisingly new lower cost of £299. I personally like the new sleek white look of the new Quest, even though it's probably not the most practical colour choice for a headset. But more importantly, what's under the hood? As rumoured the Quest 2 features the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 processor. It has 6GB of RAM, an increase from the original Quest's 4GB, a refresh rate of 90Hz up from 72Hz, an increased resolution per eye, it comes in slightly lighter at 503g as opposed to 571g, and this time there's also a 556GB storage option. The price might be £100 cheaper than the previous Quest, but in order to get to the magic £299 price ticket, they've had to cut some corners... If you want to have a strap that's comfortable and doesn't require adjusting each time you use the device, you'll need to spend an additional £49, to get a flexible strap similar to the one on the original Quest. There's a further upgrade available for £119, which will give you the ‘elite strap’ with an additional battery and carry case. If you're a serious VR gamer and want to make use of the headset for your PCVR experiences, you'll also need to spend a further £89 on the official Oculus Link cable.
Reviews have been popping up online over the last 24 hours from the journalists lucky enough to get early access, and they've been mixed, to say the least... Ars Technica's titled there's, "We do not recommend the $299 Oculus Quest 2 as your next VR system”, Whereas Road to VR went with, "The best standalone headset gets better in almost every way”. If like me, you're looking forward to getting your hands on this headset, and luckily we don't have to wait too long. Pre-orders are available now at Oculus.com with an estimated delivery date of October 14th.
Next up, let's talk about Rec Room, the multi-platform free-to-play game that's been around in VR since 2016. The Rec Room world allows you to hang out with your friends, play mini-games, and if you're feeling creative you can even build your very own levels and fill them with fun activities for others to enjoy. The game's creators announced this week that the game now features 3 million user-created levels and is receiving 40 million room visits per month, which has led to over 60 million new friendships.
They went on to reveal some new and exciting features that will be added in the coming months. These include terrain builders that allow you to build entire worlds of your own with mountains and tunnels, and additionally a vehicle system that enables players to create their very own dream machines to drive around in. As it stands players can own in-game tokens by creating and sharing assets, but one day the creators aim to turn this into real money, in effect creating its very own economy that rewards its user base. Seems like the oasis is closer than we thought.. If you want to see what it's all about you can play Rec Room for free on the Quest, the PSVR, Steam headsets, or if you haven't got a VR setup you can play on your PC with Xbox support added soon.
Finally, to wrap things up, we wanted to highlight an awesome experience that I've been playing around with this week. It's an augmented reality experience titled 'Jonathan Yeo's Studio'.
This impressive AR app allows you to visit the studio of renowned artist Jonathan Yeo and watch him paint a portrait of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. The experience is extremely engaging as it allows you to explore the art studio and interact with the objects on display. Jonathan appears as a hologram that's having a FaceTime chat with Jamie Oliver. They chat for a bit while Jonathan stabs at his easel putting paint to canvas. The quality of the photogrammetry is very impressive, and we found the app to be really intuitive. Simply search for 'Yeo Studio', on the app stores, and have a play. For more news and updates be sure to subscribe to the Immersive Studios YouTube channel.