Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a new virtual reality headset, the Oculus Quest, that he is hoping will jumpstart the nascent VR industry that has yet to catch on with mainstream consumers.
Speaking at the Oculus Connect event in San Jose, Calif., on Wednesday, Zuckerberg said the new headset will cost $399 and will ship to consumers in the spring of 2019. The Quest headset does not require a personal computer to operate, like the Oculus Rift device, and contains more powerful visuals and better head tracking than the $199 Oculus Go headset.
The Quest’s visuals will be on par with the Rift headset, but will not require tracking sensors that people must set up in their homes to capture their movements. The Quest will also allow “six degrees of freedom,” which lets people lean and move more accurately within a virtual environment.
The Quest will also ship with the same Touch controllers people use for their Rift devices, Zuckerberg said.
Zuckerberg said that the new Quest device represents the completion of Facebook’s family of VR headsets, which includes the Rift and Go headsets. Notably absent was the Gear VR headset, which was created through a partnership with Samsung and Oculus.
Facebook once heavily promoted the smartphone-powered Gear VR headset, but appears to have shifted its attention to its Go headset as its preferred mobile VR device.
Zuckerberg acknowledged that VR has not yet caught on with the majority of consumers, despite heavy investment from venture capitalists and tech companies like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Taiwan smartphone maker HTC. Facebook bought Oculus in 2014 for $2 billion, and Zuckerberg has pledged to spend billions of dollars more on VR devices and investments in VR content companies.
The executive said that Facebook’s long-term goal remains on reaching 1 billion VR users, but he joked that the company is far behind the lofty goal and is only 1% finished with its objectives.
“It’s got adjustable fit so it’s comfortable to wear with glasses. It’s got built in 360 audio,” Zuckerberg said. “This thing is just wonderful.”
The announcement comes as Facebook is grappling with the latest in a recent string of executive departures. Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger announced their departures on Monday.