FACE­BOOK UN­VEILS QUEST, ITS NEW VIR­TUAL-RE­AL­ITY HEAD­SET

Sun.Star Cebu Weekend - - Gadget - Text: Michael Liedtke Pho­tos: Ocu­lus via AP

SAN FRAN­CISCO — Face­book CEO Mark Zucker­berg is off to a slow start in his mis­sion to bring vir­tual re­al­ity to the masses, so per­haps it's ap­pro­pri­ate his com­pany's next VR head­set will be called Quest.

The head­set from Face­book's Ocu­lus di­vi­sion will be a stand-alone de­vice that won't re­quire a smart­phone or a con­nec­tion to a per­sonal computer to cre­ate ar­ti­fi­cial worlds.

The Quest won't be avail­able un­til next spring, al­though Zucker­berg un­veiled the new head­set at an Ocu­lus con­fer­ence held Wed­nes­day in San Jose, Cal­i­for­nia.

Priced at $399, the Quest will cost twice as much as the less pow­er­ful, stand-alone Ocu­lus Go re­leased ear­lier this year. But it's the same price as the Ocu­lus Rift that teth­ers

users to a PC.

Zucker­berg even­tu­ally hopes to have 1 bil­lion peo­ple us­ing vir­tu­ally re­al­ity, but he ac­knowl­edged Wed­nes­day that Face­book may not have even reached 1 per­cent of that goal more than four years af­ter pay­ing $2 bil­lion to buy Ocu­lus. That im­plies fewer than 10 mil­lion peo­ple are us­ing Ocu­lus prod­ucts.

For all of 2018, re­search firm In­ter­na­tional Data Corp. pre­dicts ship­ments of VR head­sets and de­vices built for a sim­i­lar tech­nol­ogy known as aug­mented re­al­ity will in­crease 31 per­cent from last year to 4.2 mil­lion.

That's still a rel­a­tively small num­ber for a form of tech­nol­ogy that has been draw­ing ma­jor in­vest­ments from Face­book and other in­dus­try heavy­weights such as Google, Mi­crosoft, Sony, Sam­sung and Ap­ple.

As he was last year when he an­nounced the Ocu­lus Go, Zucker­berg is count­ing on the Quest to widen VR's ap­peal. VR so far has at­tracted peo­ple in­ter­ested in play­ing video games on them, but Zucker­berg be­lieves it's only a mat­ter of time be­fore out­side de­vel­op­ers in­tro­duce other ap­pli­ca­tions that will help lure peo­ple into buy one of Ocu­lus' three dif­fer­ent head­sets to en­ter ar­ti­fi­cial realms.

"This is the ba­sic roadmap," Zucker­berg said af­ter show­ing off the Quest. "This is what we need to do for VR to suc­ceed and get to the fu­ture we want."

The vir­tual re­al­ity head­set Quest from Face­book's Ocu­lus di­vi­sion will be a stand-alone de­vice that won't re­quire a smart­phone or a con­nec­tion to a per­sonal computer to cre­ate ar­ti­fi­cial worlds.

The vir­tual re­al­ity head­set Quest, which Face­book CEO Mark Zucker­berg un­veiled at an Ocu­lus con­fer­ence last Sept. 26.

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