The Oculus Quest 2 is a great VR headset, offering impressive standalone performance and a suite of apps and games ready to download and play, but that doesn’t mean Facebook-owned Oculus isn’t working on the next big thing.
The company has already confirmed as much, although it’s not the Quest 3 like many had assumed – hints suggest a more powerful version of the Quest 2, unofficially dubbed the Oculus Quest 2 Pro. Here’s everything there is to know about the upcoming headset right now, including release date and pricing rumours, and what to expect.
When will the Oculus Quest 2 Pro be released?
Given the fact the Oculus Quest 2 launched just over a year ago, it’s likely that we won’t see the Pro model anytime soon – especially given how popular the standard model is – and vague comments from Facebook seem to confirm this.
Andrew Bosworth, the VP of Augmented and Virtual Reality at Facebook, said "Quest Pro, huh? Interesting" and winked when replying to a question about a more powerful model of the Quest 2 in an Instagram AMA, teasing the idea that Facebook is working on something behind closed doors.
Bosworth then followed up in a later Q&A session, this time on Twitter, saying that the hypothetical headset wouldn’t arrive in 2021, suggesting the Oculus Quest 2 Pro might not see the light of day until 2022 or later.
That being said, Facebook is due to hold its VR and AR-focused Facebook Connect on 28 October 2021. If the timeline has shifted and Facebook does want to get the Pro model out in time for Christmas, that'd be the perfect place to launch it.
How much will the Oculus Quest 2 Pro cost?
This one’s a little harder to predict right now. The Oculus Quest 2 comes in at £299/$299, which is an impressive price for any VR headset, let alone one that doesn’t need a gaming PC to work.
The Pro version, quite obviously, would cost more than that, but there’s no word on how much it might cost. We’d expect something close to the £499/$499 mark, making it more expensive than the standard model but still not quite as premium as the PC-powered £699/$699 HTC Vive Cosmos, but we’ll update this section once we know more.
What to expect from the Oculus Quest 2 Pro
The Oculus Quest 2 isn’t lacking in the power department by any means, sporting Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR2 platform paired with 6GB of RAM and either 64- or 256GB of storage, but the ‘Pro’ moniker of the upcoming model suggests that the Pro model will be even more capable in the processing department.
That’s easier said than done when trying to squeeze all the technology that powers the experience within the headset, but it’s certainly possible. It likely still won’t be able to stand up to PC-powered VR experiences, but it’ll go a way towards bridging the gap.
The upgraded processor could be used to increase the resolution of the LCD displays, and there could be a bump from the experimental 120Hz mode to the super-smooth 144Hz used in gaming displays, translating to a higher definition, more realistic virtual reality experience without the need for a dedicated gaming PC.
Don’t go expecting a complete revamp of the headset though; Oculus’ Andrew Bosworth is very clear that "there isn’t a Quest 3, there’s only the Quest 2".
He then clarified his statement, referring to his earlier comments on an Instagram AMA, continuing "I did hint at an AMA earlier this year about Quest Pro because we do have a lot of things in development where we want to introduce new functionality to the headset along the kinds that people theorize that we would want to introduce, and that’s a little ways off still."
Face and eye-tracking
Reddit user Reggy04 has discovered references to Quest Pro as well as face- and eye-tracking in the Oculus Quest v32 firmware update in September 2021, suggesting that eye-tracking could be a new addition to the high-end standalone VR headset.
It's not a surprise though; back in March 2021, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg described face and eye tracking as some of his most wanted features in future headsets. "One of the things I'm really excited about for future versions is getting eye tracking and face tracking in" Zuckerberg explained to The Information.
The introduction of eye- and face-tracking alongside hand tracking could be a big plus for social VR apps, making virtual worlds a little more realistic, but it could also help the headset perform better by only fully rendering the area that you're currently looking at. It's not certain that it'll be a feature of the Quest 2 Pro, but it's looking increasingly likely.
New lens system
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, famed for his Apple product announcements, suggested in a June 2021 note to investors that Facebook and Sony have both ordered large quantities of new VR lenses for 2022. Though no detail was given on what the new lenses could offer, it could bring benefits to the FOV.
There will likely be minor improvements to the Quest 2’s controllers too. While the current controllers are well designed and offer decent vibrational feedback, enhanced haptics like those available on the PS5’s DualSense controllers would vastly improve the overall experience.
However, leaks suggest a more dramatic change could be in the works. Reddit user Samulia posted a series of low-res images of what was claimed to be new Oculus Touch controllers in late September 2021.
While an Oculus moderator downplayed the rumour at the time, a real-world leaked image of what could be redesigned Oculus Quest controllers appeared on Imgur days later, showcasing the same design as the Reddit leak.
The leaked image appears to be a screenshot taken within Workplace, Facebook's Slack competitor, suggesting that the leak might've originated within Facebook itself - though it could just be another company using Workplace as their remote work communication hub.
The controller in question looks to ditch the infrared LED ring present on all Oculus Touch controllers to date, instead featuring three cameras (one on the front and two on the sides) for inside-out tracking, giving the controllers a much cleaner look overall.
Given that two separate leaks, within days of one another, point towards a new controller, an Oculus Touch controller redesign is looking more and more likely - though the usual grain of salt should be applied.
What would you like to see on the Oculus Quest 2 Pro? Let us know on Twitter.