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People line up at the Oculus booth at the E3 Electronic Expo in Los Angeles, California, U.S. June 14, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson - S1AETJYAZJAB
Reuters/Lucy Nicholson
What will be the real future of VR?
SIX DEGREES OF FREEDOM

Facebook’s latest VR headset Oculus Quest will ship next year—and it has Star Wars

By Aisha Hassan

At the fifth Oculus Connect developer conference in San Jose, California, today (Sept. 26), Facebook announced a new virtual reality headset for next year: Oculus Quest. Priced at $399 and set to ship in spring 2019, it’s Oculus’ first “all-in-one VR system with six degrees of freedom.”

The degrees of freedom refer to how much a person can move in a VR world, and in this case, it includes leaning over edges or crouching behind objects. The tracking also reportedly supports 4,000 square feet of space. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the Oculus Quest combines a wireless design, virtual hand controllers, and full positional tracking, which are “the key attributes of the ideal VR system,” The Verge reports. “If we can bring these three qualities together in one product, we think that will be the foundation of a new generation of VR,” Zuckerberg said.

The Quest is the third device in Oculus’ offerings. The others are the Rift, which also goes for $399 but needs to be connected to a PC, and the Go, a standalone VR headset that costs $249 and was released earlier this year. Oculus Touch controllers, now priced at $99, can be used with all these models.

The new system is designed to work with previous Oculus software, and will launch with more than 50 games, including Moss and The Climb. Hugo Barra, head of VR, said the Quest is “made for games.” Vader Immortal, a new Star Wars VR series, will be available exclusively on Quest.

In a press release, Oculus head of experiences Colum Slevin described the immersion that the wireless Quest, and “untethered VR,” allows: “Whether it’s hearing Darth Vader’s breathing behind you and physically turning to face him in person or wielding a lightsaber with your own hands, Vader Immortal captures the ultimate wish fulfillment.”

The Oculus Quest is Facebook’s latest bid to boost the VR industry, and Zuckerberg admitted at the conference that he was well behind trying to get “1 billion people” to use VR. The Quest’s promise, it seems, is to change that reality next year.

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