Meta Quest 3

January 21, 2024

I got my wife a Meta Quest 3 for Chirstmas last year and I thought I’d write up some quick thoughts about it. It’s much better than the Quest 2–almost to the point of classifying the previous generation of products as e-waste. I suppose the first couple iterations of smart phones suffered the same fate. I think the two biggest things I noticed was the color, high-fidelity passthrough mode and the edge-to-edge clarity of the new lenses. In the previous generation, you would need to get your eyes in the right spot for the picture to be clear, but now it’s generally clear all over.

The headset is still on the heavier side for me, and with larger glasses, it hurts my nose, but it is still playable. I couldn’t get the current glasses I’m wearing to work on the Quest 2–I would switch to a smaller pair just to use it. To shed some of the weight off the headset, I would be curious if they could use a separate battery pack design like the new Apple vision pro and let you carry it in a backpack (camelback-sized) so there wasn’t a cord going all the way down to your waist. The battery life is pretty short (< 2 hours) but that’s about all the time I can spend in VR anyways before needing a break. Unfortunately if someone else wants to play with the same headset, they will have to wait for it to charge. It’s possible to enable app sharing so two people can play the same game on separate headsets with each other, which is a nice feature. I haven’t gotten to try DCS with it yet, but hopefully will try that out later. It was always a hassle getting it set up (even more so than an average VR game) so I didn’t play as much as I would have liked.

I tried Asgard’s Wrath 2, the free-for-now “10/10” RPG that Meta helped publish. After seeing the IGN review I had high hopes. Unfortunately, the game only supports locomotion based movement, which almost makes it near unplayable for me. I managed to play it for thirty minutes or so but I was exhausted afterwards. Not quite to the point where I was nauseous, but I had a decent headache. I consider myself average when it comes to motion sickness. I definitely get motion sick, but I’m able to go on boats for to go scuba diving (I always take dramamine in case). My wife basically throws up every time she gets on a boat, but she can play VR games like beat saber.

Anyways, the game was ok for about the first 30 minutes of playing. I suppose it would probably get better, but I wasn’t so blown away that I’m going to power through 60 hours to beat it. At this point in my life, having a game that lets me swing a controller like a sword isn’t any more appealing than doing it on a screen with a button press. When I play games I want to relax somewhat, and playing that game would be more of a chore than fun. The graphics felt like they could have come out of the original God of War game, or some of the first 3D Zelda games. It felt retro in a way that wasn’t really appealing in a new game. Given the weaker hardware, maybe it would have worked better for me if they had gone with the newer style Zelda graphics, that is to say that they could have gotten away with lower texture quality if they went for an artistic look instead of a semi-realistic look.

I don’t think that sort of single player RPG could be a killer game for the Quest. I liked half-life alyx more, and that was the game that convinced me that you could pull off a single person shooter in a VR format that you could play without getting sick. With Asgards Wrath, I had to constantly remind my brain that it wasn’t real, otherwise I would have been getting sick. Even with teleportation based movement, half life alyx felt very engaging. I think the killer app is actually walk-about mini golf, a game I can play with friends and family thousands of miles away. I think that’s a good blend of VR and social that Meta should be focused on.

As far as the other tech companies go with VR, it’s hard to say at this point. I’m not really involved with the Apple ecosystem because I don’t like walled gardens, so I’ll have to read about what others think about the Vision Pro. From the layoff news, it seems Microsoft isn’t putting a lot of investment into VR anymore. I think VR is one of those technologies like the phone where the early adopters are going to own the platform and the app store, so it will be hard for someone to come in later and grab a critical mass away from anyone who is entrenched.