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
Updated – July 16, 2020
The Quest’s availability in late April quickly disappeared under a rush of orders. It’s now available in most regions but both the Quest and Rift S quickly go to a two week or more backorder whenever they show up on the Oculus site. Here’s the latest chart from RoadtoVR updated to July 15, 2020:
The Rift S remains scarce and will not be available in the U.S. The Quest is not shipping in the U.S. until the end of June and we wouldn’t be surprised to see further delays.
Should You Buy a Quest Now?
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 now appears to be coming this fall. Oculus was hinting that the Quest had a bright future at the OC6 conference last fall. Given its popularity and Facebook’s move toward standalone HMDs, it’s due for an update.
- 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.
Keep an eye on the Oculus site if you’re looking to get one, as its available seems to change almost daily.
Emory Craig is a writer, speaker, and VR consultant with extensive experience in art, new media, and higher education. He speaks at global conferences on innovation, education, and ethical technology in the future. He has published widely and worked with the US Agency for International Development, the United Nations, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Living at the intersection of learning, games, and immersive storytelling, he is fascinated by AI-based avatars, digital twins, and the ethical implications of blurring the boundaries between the real and the virtual.