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March 2022 Retro Gaming Article

March 18, 2022 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

VR has never been more consumer-ready, but does Meta have enough forward innovation for Quest 2?

Facebook Meta Quest 2 Oculus
Facebook began with social media, but has expanded primarily via acquisition and duplication - not from inner innovation.
I've watched VR over the last few decades and it's made major inroads lately into consumer acceptance, from $10,000 setups in the 80s, to PSVR and Oculus. Price being one of the larger consumer obstacles, both Sony and Meta/Facebook have come to market with really cool options. The issue for me with Meta's product (Oculus) is the company's overall lack of innovation.

Facebook has expanded to the point that they created the company umbrella, Meta, to be the overarching brand for their continued expansion. They bought Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus among others. Apart from outright buying up it's competitors, Meta has a long history of duplicating good ideas pioneered by other companies. For me, Meta lacks an inner innovation model. They don't create as much as they buy & copy things they want to include under Meta.

Meta/Facebook expands through acquisitions. I don't consider them an innovation company.
Some of us were introduced to the Metaverse concept through scifi adventures like Ready Player One. If you look at where Meta is with that project... it looks like a hybrid of Club Penguin and Paw Patrol. With all the natural beauty of our planet, why would I want to be immersed in a world that looks like a children's cartoon?

Maybe I'm jaded (I am), but I don't view Meta as a leader in any category. They borrow and assimilate. This leaves them as perennial followers in an industry shaped by innovation. In my opinion, Facebook is past it's useful life and Instagram feel like it's fast approaching extinction.

So what will Meta bring to VR? I'm guessing, not much. Even their advertising is telling of their inability to lead. Sure they bought one of the most promising VR companies (Oculus), but all the current ads show pictures of the hardware and people wearing it. OK, where are the games? The software? What can I play on it. Gamers either have consoles or PC backgrounds and are the most likely first adopters of VR tech... so what can we do with it? Show us a game screen now and then.

Their Quest 2 VR product isn't even a household name at this time. I don't see the hardware at GameStop - maybe it's hidden in there somewhere. I don't ever hear about games for Quest 2. I couldn't name a single developer. At the end of the day, I can't think of a single reason why I'd ever buy a Quest 2. I see pictures of the headset in numerous online ads, but I don't really care what it looks like as much as what it can do. Meta doesn't advertise any games or capabilities. What is it for? Who is it for?Show me a game. A screenshot even!

Facebook Meta Quest 2 Oculus My son has an Oculus and I gave it a try - surprisingly, I really liked it. I only played a simple shooter game, but it came at me from all angles and was a lot of fun. Prior to this, I assumed I'd hate the experience. The game I played was in a white "room" with little to no detail, but the action was unique enough (meaning 360 degree action) that I could ignore the lack of graphics.

As a gamer, I'm accustomed to consoles delivering more realistic graphics with each hardware release. From my limited experience with the Quest 2, it strikes me as a device in it's infancy. In a way it is, but I expected something closer to PlayStation-level graphics... not a white room.

Granted I need to explore the Quest 2 device more to assess it's value for me as a gamer, I worry that this will be another one-hit-wonder in the Meta arsenal. Like most of their products, I fear it will receive minimal improvement based on how Meta allows most of it's properties to languish. The Quest 2 is priced to sell, but they need to demonstrate how much value will come with that purchase. I want to see software and games along with upgrade paths for the hardware. Get to it, Zuck!

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