The FINANCIAL — Microsoft and Sony aren’t the only companies that are launching major new gaming hardware this season. Recently Facebook announced a new virtual-reality headset – Oculus Quest 2, the next generation of all-in-one VR – that is smaller and cheaper than its predecessor. It has highest resolution display ever, weighs less than the original Quest and price starts at $299 USD. But not everyone is happy with this launch. Some Parents are furious over Facebook’s new rule.
Facebook has worked to turn VR into a mass-market technology since buying headset maker Oculus in 2014 for $3 billion. Since then, it has steadily released a handful of headsets that evolved from clunky devices that required external sensors and a powerful PC, to increasingly light, powerful, self-contained gadgets that can easily be slipped onto your head or stowed in a backpack. In addition to headsets, Facebook has spent years refining controllers for VR and pushing content makers to create games and other experiences for it, CNN reported.
Like the original Quest, the Quest 2 doesn’t require a PC to power virtual reality. It’s a bit like the Nintendo Switch of virtual reality: You can play it unplugged, anywhere, as a standalone device, or you can plug it in to a PC and play more visually dazzling, PC-powered virtual reality games like “Half-Life: Alyx” that require more processing muscle. The Quest 2 is also backwards compatible with the first-generation. If you’ve already got a Quest, your content will automatically come forward with you as part of your user account. Notably, the Quest 2 is considered the new flagship headset for Facebook. With the launch of the Quest 2 this October, Facebook is sunsetting the Oculus “Rift” line of headsets in favor of the Quest line, according to Business Insider.
Oculus Quest 2 comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Platform processor and 6GB of memory to power even more immersive experiences, with newly redesigned controllers for better ergonomics and longer battery life. Preorders are opened, and Quest 2 will ship October 13. Quest 2 packs a suite of innovations to power the next generation of VR games and experiences. With the first Quest headset, they debuted a revolutionary all-in-one form factor powered by innovations like the Oculus Insight tracking system. With Quest 2, Facebook is taking things even further, starting with a multi-generational leap in processing power with the state-of-the-art Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ XR2 Platform offering higher AI capability, and 6GB of RAM.
Facebook didn’t stop there. With Quest 2’s increased graphics processing power, this new display is capable of supporting 90 Hz. You’ll be able to run system applications at 90 Hz on day one, including the Home Environment, Explore, Store, Browser and Oculus TV by opting in via Experimental Features. Facebook will open up 90 Hz to all developers soon after launch.
On the other hand, Parents are furious over a Facebook rule change: Kids who play the Oculus virtual reality games will soon need to have a Facebook account. Even if parents didn’t want their kids on social media, buying the Oculus player and games effectively puts them into a world of hustling for likes that they’re just not ready for. One option for parents, beyond saying no: a new account, under their name, which they share with their kids. The social network said it will put “special protections” in place for minors to “limit contact” from adults they aren’t connected to. “We will use machine learning to detect and disable the accounts of adults who are engaging in inappropriate interactions with minors.” It added that people do not need to be active on Facebook to use their account to log-into their Oculus device, according to USA Today.
The compulsory link to Facebook has many consumers concerned, considering the social media giant’s history with privacy and data. VR and AR, are perhaps the most data-extractive digital sensors in the next decade. VR affords a strong feeling of embodied presence that offers new possibilities for entertainment, training, learning and connecting with others at a distance. But if the VR future is the one Facebook is “working in the lab” on, it will function via the company’s existing social computing platform and business model of extracting data to deliver targeted advertisements. VR collects data about the user, but also about the outside world. The way you move your body can be used to identify you, like a fingerprint, so everything you do in VR could be traced back to your individual identity, Australian Times wrote.
It is interesting to note that Facebook has warned that they will block Australians from sharing news if a landmark plan to make digital platforms pay for news content becomes law. On the other hand, the sharing of personal content between family and friends will not be affected by this change and neither will the sharing of news by users outside of Australia. Facebook is accused of bullying because of the statement they shared on their blog and the plans they made. Managing Director of Facebook Australia & New Zealand thinks that when crafting this new legislation, the commission overseeing the process ignored important facts, most critically the relationship between the news media and social media and which one benefits most from the other. Read more.