Need more space for VR? Using Oculus Quest 2 outside might sound like a bright idea but, in practice, brightness is kind of the problem.
Using Oculus Quest 2 outside could make VR a lot more immersive. Find a space big enough and, theoretically, you could start walking around virtual environments physically instead of using less immersive means like teleportation or smooth locomotion.
With that in mind, we took Facebook’s new standalone headset out for a spin on a dreary day in a London park last week. We had hoped that the UK’s dependably overcast weather and Quest 2’s fresher hardware might help the headset succeed where its predecessor fell short.
Using Oculus Quest 2 Outdoors
Sadly, that wasn’t quite the case. As you can see in the video above, we could use the Oculus Quest 2 headset itself pretty easily outdoors. The inside-out tracking would have a few wobbles, but you can walk around environments without much hassle. The only problem is that your hands won’t come with you; Quest 2’s cameras aren’t really able to pick up the Touch controllers in even slightly brighter surroundings than your traditional indoor environment. I could get spare, spotty moments of tracking when under the shade of a tree, for example, but standing out in the middle of a field the controllers hardly ever picked up. Instead, their virtual representations were left dangling from where I started.
Playing games like Superhot VR was out of the question, then, though I did go for a stroll in the Oculus Home environment and even take a trip down a New Orleans neighborhood in The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners. And, in fairness, even without controllers, this is a pretty amazing experience. Poking around the new Oculus Home reveals plenty of easter eggs and surprising glitches. With the headset’s Guardian boundary turned off via developer mode (which we don’t recommend you do yourself), I discovered a secret garden, found a virtual version of the Quest 2 case and even mustered the energy to cross a chasm and reach a rope bridge.
There’s also something to be said for the sheer terror of actually running away from a zombie instead of pushing a thumbstick forward. You’ll know what I mean if you’ve ever tried location-based VR like The Void. If it had worked properly, I’d probably even start using Oculus Quest 2 outside pretty regularly.
But without those controllers, it’s basically impossible to fully utilize Oculus Quest 2 outside right now. Plus, don’t forget that many games and apps simply aren’t built to support this kind of motion. In The Walking Dead, for example, I’d find myself sinking into the floor when walking up inclines because the game isn’t recognizing my movement as a form of input. Oh, and it’s a similar story for Quest 2’s hand-tracking – I couldn’t get it to work at all.
So there you go. No, you can’t really use Oculus Quest 2 outside, unless you simply want to walk around a virtual space. Perhaps on a day especially overcast even for a UK winter, or in the fleeting moments of dusk, you’d get better performance, but those are conditions so specific (not to mention very chilly too) we wouldn’t count on this as a major feature. Maybe that’s one direction Facebook could take Oculus Quest 3? We’d cross our hand-tracked fingers… if we could see them.
Have you tried using Oculus Quest 2 outside? Did you have any success? What games and apps do you think would be best experiences outside? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to subscribe to our Youtube channel for more video content.