For many years VR has been described as "the technology of the future and always will be"!
Every time i had tried demos of VR kit, the heavy headset and the necessity of being tied to a PC with long trailing cables meant that I felt like I was one of the original deep sea divers with the solid diving helmet, tethered to a boat on the surface. Just like those original divers, you could catch a glimpse of an amazing new world, but the lack of freedom and the bulky equipment meant that it was unappealing except to the most dedicated and committed. So when Oculus released the Quest - I was intrigued. Could they have finally created something that fulfilled the elusive original promise of VR?
Early reviews were good - so I took the plunge and ordered one. Within minutes, it was clear that the Quest is something special. Getting going is trivially easy and the biggest challenge was clearing a 2M square space to play in. A smartphone is needed to get the Quest online and setting up the headset for your personal head is mostly just adjusting straps and changing the intra-ocular distance slider. Then you are into the tutorial and transported to another world.
The freedom and sense of place is amazing. You can turn around and around and admire your surroundings. This is how Jacques Cousteau must have felt when he developed the first scuba diving equipment in the 1930s. No longer do you need to worry about snagged cables and the constant awareness of being tied to the "mothership" or PC. Freedom is limited only to the size of your playing space. The headgear is (in my opinion and compared to earlier generation headsets) lightweight, and comfortable although it isn't something you want to wear for hours on end.
Of course it's easy to pick fault with the device. Battery life only gives you a couple of hours before needing recharging and the graphics are not going to compare with those of a tethered device. The first generation of games and applications are fairly limited in their scope and it may be a while before developers really start to “push the envelope” of what the device can do.
However, the way I see the Quest is how one might see the first iPhone or the first home games console. It's a starting point for a technology which will continue to develop and improve - every two to three years we'll see a new generation of device - which will be lighter and more powerful with better battery, more applications and more interactivity.
Because of course, being in VR is very much a solo experience. While multiplayer games are available, and in time we may get used to the sight of someone wearing a headset and flailing their body around in response to something only they can see, but for now, this is very much a solitary pursuit.
Nonetheless, Oculus Quest is a game changer. And it is just the beginning.