I criticize Facebook a lot. But today is not that day. Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset and the worlds inside of it are indescribably cool (although I’m going to try to describe them). Let’s get to the good stuff:
WOW. I’ve been to VR arcades and the Oculus is every bit as sharp and clear, if not more. There’s no fuzziness at all. It’s crystal clear and you can go anywhere. Want to go on safari in Africa or check out the ruins in Rome? There is no limit to where you can go in this thing. There’s an app for everything, including National Geographic, which takes you on tours of anywhere in the world. During the COVID lockdowns and restrictions, I can’t think of a better escape.
Speaking of lockdowns, if you’re missing people, then head into the community games and suddenly you’re in a room with friends from around the world. You can even go to a movie together on an app called Bigscreen.
Anyone who has one of these amazing gadgets can connect online and hang out. Sure, you’re looking at an avatar, but you’re talking to one another and it totally feels as if you are in the same room. I made some great new friends from who-knows-where playing Cookout in multiplayer mode. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time after I set the kitchen on fire and couldn’t put it out. It was a scream.
I was wary at first of talking to strangers on this thing but it’s great fun. And there’s not much to worry about if your kids are playing because you can hear the other people in the room, so if you’re monitoring it, you can act if anyone is being inappropriate. So far, though, it’s just been a blast and the kids are getting to “hang out” with more people this week than they’ve seen in a year.
Now, we have to talk the cousins into getting them so they can play together. It’s an absolute blast. My teen already told me it has made her feel more “normal” overnight. It’s a COVID-free zone where social distance doesn’t matter and no one is masked. It’s like 2019 again, but more fun.
If you’re not into gaming, that’s not all it’s for. There are apps for absolutely everything you can imagine. Hate Zoom? Oculus has workrooms for your team to work in together even if you’re across the country from each other. No more 2D flat screens. You can sit next to your co-workers and interact like normal. No delay. I’m going to try and talk everyone on the PJ Media staff into getting one. It would be so fun. I’m laughing just imagining Kruiser’s avatar.
Another cool app is the Tripp meditation app that won best app, according to Men’s Health Magazine. This thing is outrageously cool. It’s a mind-bending trip through kaleidoscopes of color, deep space, and anything you can imagine with the intent to relax and calm your mind or help you sleep. It’s something that has to be experienced to believe.
You can also watch Netflix on it. Why would you want to do that, you might ask? Well, is your TV the size of a movie screen? If not, then you might want to check out the Netflix app in Oculus. It puts you on a couch in a cabin somewhere in the Colorado mountains in front of a giant TV the size of your wall. It’s so cool! My friend who drives a big rig takes it with him on trips. Instead of having to watch TV on his smartphone, he gets the full movie experience. The applications of this technology are endless.
The VR system only has one drawback I’m aware of and that’s the fact that you cannot be anonymous and you must connect it to your Facebook account. That brings up obvious issues, like what happens when you get kicked off Facebook for dubious reasons? Well, your $400 headset will not work. And you can’t open a new account to remedy that. I think that for obvious reasons this will resolve itself with a class-action lawsuit at some point. The other criticism is that Facebook is collecting more data about what you play and they’re watching everything. Well, who isn’t? Unless you’re Amish, you’re monitored. Get used to it.
However, if you have at least one person in your house who never gets into trouble on Facebook (obviously, that’s not me) then it’s relatively safe (I think. I could be back here in a month castigating the whole thing if my family member gets kicked off for any reason, but for now I’m good).
Get this thing. You will not be disappointed unless you get your account deleted, but then maybe you can join the inevitable class-action suit and win big damages!