Oculus will sell you a Quest 2 headset that doesn’t need Facebook for an extra $500
The Oculus Quest 2 is a hell of a lot of hardware for $299. In fact, we’re convinced that Facebook is making a loss on each unit sold. Even so, that pricing is one of the main reasons it’s the most popular headset on Steam and our pick as the best VR headset. Well, that and the ease of use.
The simplicity of strapping the Quest 2 on to your head and getting straight into a game without worrying about setting up base stations, or dedicating an area of your house to the VR experience, are just some of the reasons that helped make this one of the best VR headsets around.
But there’s no getting away from that price. The $299 tag is just enough to make us treat the headset with respect, while also making it affordable enough for most to pull the trigger and see what this VR fuss is all about. It’s sold pretty well too, showing that price is definitely a factor in adopting new standards—hardly a shocking revelation.
The thing is, that price seems too good to be true, with no other manufacturer’s VR headset close to the specs list of the Quest 2—in either tethered or standalone form—hitting the same low, low price. That money gets you a robust virtual reality headset with 6GB of RAM, a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 CPU, 64GB of storage, 1832×1920 per eye display and a pair of controllers.
And while yes, added extras like the Quest 2 Elite Strap and the Oculus Link Headset cable are pretty much essential for PC gamers, their pricing merely highlights that something doesn’t quite add up when it comes to the Quest 2’s bill of materials. It seems too cheap. And it is. But there’s one factor that could potentially offset that price—Facebook has access to a whole lot of your data.
This is something the Oculus Quest 2 is upfront about: You absolutely need a Facebook account in order to use the device and it does have its data collection policies in black and white. Although what isn’t quite so obvious is how much your data is worth to Facebook. At least it isn’t without a tiny bit of digging.
There is another version of the Quest 2 that isn’t as discounted as the consumer version, and that’s the one aimed at businesses. The actual hardware is identical, but the difference is you don’t need to login in with a Facebook account in order to use it.
The price for this model? $799. There’s also an annual fee of $180 that kicks in a year after purchase, which covers Oculus’ business services and support, but that just muddies the waters a little.
The point being, the Quest 2 for business, the headset from which Facebook can’t access your data directly, costs $500 more. So that’s looking essentially like the value the social media giant attributes to your data, which either seems like a lot or barely anything at all, depending on your stance.
Plenty of users have baulked at Facebook’s involvement with Oculus, with some vowing not to go near the Quest 2. Others suggest setting up a fake Facebook account to use them, but even then, there’s still plenty of data being passed back to the company on your usage. Alternatively, you simply may not care about such things, but at least now you know how much your data is roughly worth.
If you take a look at the Supplemental Oculus Data Policy, you can find out what sort of data is actually being collected when you use the Quest 2. Such things as your physical dimension, including your hand size, how big your play area is using the Oculus Guardian system, data on any content you create using the Quest 2, as well as more obvious stuff like your device ID and IP address.
One huge impact of the Quest 2 pricing is that no one can really compete with it. Just look around the VR market, and you’re generally looking at prices closer to the business version of the Quest 2, not the consumer model. We’ve been in briefings with other VR manufacturers, and the general consensus is that the only way the Quest 2 can be priced the way it is, is because of Facebook backing.
Maybe Valve ought to do some serious tracking with the Index 2, then ship it out for $299 too. Just let me know what details you want, Gabe, and we’ll gladly give it.
Alan has spent far too much of his life in World of Warcraft and playing Magic the Gathering to be a normal human being, which is why he has retreated to the warm embrace of gaming hardware.