VR news of the week
As part of a weekly series, Android Central Senior Editors Michael Hicks and Nick Sutrich are rounding up all of the news on hardware, game announcements, leaks, and cool updates related to the Meta Quest 3, Oculus Quest 2, and other VR headsets.
Welcome one, welcome all to the weekly VR news recap for the week ending November 3, 2023. This past week has been jam-packed with all sorts of news from the VR, AR, and overall XR space including big announcements from Qualcomm and Samsung.
Plus, we’re taking a look at more Meta roadmap leaks for upcoming Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses releases and even asking what’s going on with Meta Quest 3 controller tracking.
And let’s not forget about the bevy of games released this past week, as well as another handful of popular Quest games getting graphical upgrades for Quest 3 users.
Controller tracking woes
Almost all of this week’s news is fun and positive, so why not get the negative out of the way first? As more people are getting their hands on the Meta Quest 3, we’ve been hearing of increased reports of controller tracking issues.
Long story short, a few outlets have reported that Quest 3 controllers aren’t tracked as accurately as Quest 2 controllers. That may seem strange given that Meta is utilizing both LED tracking plus AI tracking models which were designed to ensure accuracy and speed.
Gamers who play fast-paced VR games like Beat Saber, Eleven Table Tennis, Synth Riders, and others say that their controllers regularly glitch for a brief moment during fast movements. As you might expect, this is causing lots of frustration and causing players to miss note blocks or hits in games.
Meta says it’s currently looking into the problem, although the company has yet to respond to emails we’ve sent inquiring about the potential issues.
For what it’s worth, my own Quest 3 controllers received an update today but I couldn’t find any published changelog to see what was included in the update. Meta has historically been good about updating its headsets regularly so we expect this to get fixed soon.
TikTok comes to Pico
Looking to do a little late-night TikToking? You’ve got a new way to do it if you’ve got a Pico 4, as parent company ByteDance finally added a way to scroll the world’s most popular social media platform from the comfort of your VR headset.
As UploadVR reports, the TikTok app is now officially available on the Pico store but is little more than the Android app floating in virtual space. At least the headset’s crystal-clear display and pancake lenses mean that scrolling through your feed will look great.
Plus, this also means that posting content to the social network is easier than ever before, so you can capture something super amazing in VR and post it right away.
Meta Quest users could always sideload the app to their headset for a near-identical experience but they’d be missing the integrated TikTok sharing functionality.
Quest 3 games galore
The Meta Quest 3 has seen an incredible launch, and that includes tons of new games that have launched since the headset came out a few weeks ago. The best October Meta Quest games were appropriately Halloween-themed, though, including big releases from Ghostbusters and a brilliant reboot of the 90s puzzle adventure title, The 7th Guest.
In addition to that, we’ve seen a number of Quest games get graphics updates to make use of the new headset’s improved processing power. The 7th Guest got an incredible update right after launch that included even better volumetric FMV sequences — it’s actually hard to believe they’re better than what we saw at release — and popular Rainbow Six-like game Breachers just got its big Quest 3 graphics update, as well.
In addition, Floor Plan 2, RUNNER, Hubris, and several other games also saw big graphics updates for Quest 3 hardware. We’ve also gotten word from the developers of Genotype and PowerWash Simulator VR that a Quest 3 update is being worked on and things are coming along quite nicely.
The future of smart glasses
We may have just seen the release of the second-generation smart glasses from Meta and Ray-Ban, but rumors of the third generation are already making the rounds. Meta Ray-Ban Smart Glasses 2 looks to be an even bigger jump than we saw with this year’s release, adding in a new display that sounds an awful lot like Google Glass.
This “Viewfinder,” as rumors call it, is said to be used for “viewing incoming text messages, scanning QR codes, and translating text from another language in real-time.”
Meta looks to be attempting to launch its first actual pair of AR glasses called “Project Artemis” sometime in 2027 which are said to be utilizing Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) displays. These are the same type of display used in Google Glass and both Magic Leap glasses so it’s not an expensive, emerging display type.
To offset the weight and size of a VR headset, Meta is said to be placing both the battery and chipset in a hip or wrist-mounted puck of some kind. Meta is said to be including 5G connectivity and a touchpad on this puck, making it possible to use it as a way to use the glasses like a smartphone.
Beyond that, Meta is looking to release an even more full-featured pair of AR glasses called Project Orion. Orion is said to be a limited-quantity item and will potentially cost upwards of $2,000.
These would feature MicroLED displays baked into the lenses, similar to how some of the best smart glasses do right now. INMO Air 2 comes to mind when I think of this design.
You’d control these glasses with a wrist-mounted controller that looks a lot like a smart watch, using taps and other gestures to navigate through content on these glasses, likely similar to how Apple Vision Pro gestures work. Meta has been working on these types of gesture watches for a while now, so it makes sense to see them beginning to integrate the tech into upcoming products.