It’s been out less than a year (debuting May 21, 2019), but it’s good to see the popular Oculus Quest back in stock. Both the Rift S and the Oculus Quest VR headsets have been almost impossible to come by (unless you were willing to spring for over a 100% markup).
Even with the return, the Rift S remains unavailable in many countries. And the Quest will show up first to Australia and Europe before reaching the U.S. markets during the last week in May.
While Oculus never made clear the reason for the spring 2020 delays, it was most likely popularity over the holiday season compounded by the Coronavirus disrupting production and supply chains.
Oculus Quest Back in Stock
Here’s the current availability from RoadtoVR:
As the chart reveals, the Rift S remains scarce and will not be available in the U.S. And the Quest is limited to the lower-end 64GB version in the American continent. No one knows if this is a temporary surge, or if we can expect the Quest to be available throughout the summer. But given that there was no availability, this is a huge change.
Do You Need the Quest?
Should you run to Oculus and pick up the popular headset? It’s not necessary if you already have a Vive or the Rift. You might want to wait for version 2, which we thought would be announced this spring. Oculus was hinting that the Quest had a bright future at the OC6 conference last fall. As John Carmack and others made clear, it shipped with lower-end components to keep the cost below $400 and get it to market. You could say it arrived as an outdated product in terms of components. It’s what Facebook did with the hardware that made it remarkable.
But new versions of any tech this year are a major question. With a global pandemic underway, all bets are off as to when we’ll see the next version of the Quest.
- Hand tracking came to the HMD at the beginning of the year. It’s not perfect but remarkable enough.
- The camera pass-through is now in stereo, though still in B/W. You can see the real world at any time by tapping the side of the Quest.
- Controller tracking went from passable to excellent.
- With Oculus Link, you can now tether the HMD to get access to VR experiences on SteamVR.
If you just want to experience the future of VR in a standalone, untethered headset, this is the HMD to have. Increasingly, VR experiences such as Within’s Supernatural exercise app are taking advantage of that freedom of movement. And with the Oculus Link cable, you’ll still be able to do high-end experiences (as long as you’re willing to tolerate a bit of a screen door effect).
If you don’t have a decent VR headset, this is the perfect time to get the Quest. Especially since it now seems we’ll be impacted by the Coronavirus throughout the summer and possibly the fall.
With the Oculus Quest back in stock, you might just find it a little easier to survive our new quarantined lifestyles. Even once the pandemic is over, we’re not going back to the way things were. We’re facing a “new normal” and the Quest is the perfect headset to have for education, the arts, 360 videos, and for high-end experiences.
If you were looking to grab a Quest, get it while you can.
Emory Craig is a VR consultant, writer, and speaker with years of experience in art, new media, and higher education. He is actively engaged in innovative developments for AR and VR at the intersection of learning, games, and immersive storytelling. He is fascinated by virtual worlds, AI-driven avatars, and the ethical implications of blurring the boundaries between the real and the virtual.