New orders of the Oculus Quest headset ordered on Facebook’s Oculus website aren’t expected to ship until mid-February in the United Sates.
Facebook’s standalone VR headset sold out at several online stores ahead of Christmas 2019. Now, however, the website warns new orders of the $400 64 gigabyte or $500 128 gigabyte system should ship by Feb. 17 and 13, respectively. It might be possible to find the headset in physical stores before then. Until recently, Facebook warned the headset would ship by the beginning of February when ordered from the Oculus website.
Oculus Link Beta And Half-Life: Alyx
Facebook’s all-in-one VR system works great in standalone mode with incredible games like Beat Saber, Superhot and Pistol Whip. Quest first started shipping in May 2019 and executives said they’ve been selling them as fast as they can make them. Demand seemed to increase for Quest as Christmas approached in recent weeks, and after the launch of the Oculus Link wired PC connection.
While Quest works great in a completely wireless mode, if you connect it to a compatible high-end PC over a USB 3 cable the Oculus Link beta allows direct access to expansive PC VR games like No Man’s Sky VR, Skyrim VR and Valve’s highly anticipated Half-Life VR game.
Valve’s high-end PC-powered Index VR headset was also backordered to February. The wired headset is only officially sold via the Steam Store and it sells as a kit for around $1,000. The controllers and headset are also sold as modular upgrades to the original HTC Vive. Index became backordered after the announcement of Half-Life: Alyx in November “due to recent high demand.” The highly anticipated Half-Life game is slated to ship in March 2020 and comes free with the purchase of the Index headset or controllers. As backorders recently approached March, Valve removed the ability to order the system in the United States and added “notify me” buttons for when the device is available for purchase again.
The Half-Life VR game is a full-length title expanding upon one of gaming’s most well-loved franchises. The game will work with all PC VR headsets that are compatible with SteamVR and use tracked controllers — and that includes Oculus Quest in the USB 3 Oculus Link mode. Facebook recently started selling an official 5 meter high quality optical cable for Oculus Link with orders pushed to early 2020.
You can still buy a Rift S or a range of Windows Mixed Reality headsets like the Odyssey+ to play with Half-Life: Alyx and other PC VR games. While those headsets will arrive more quickly, we think Index and Quest represent two of the better options in the VR market right now. Quest’s wireless freedom in standalone mode, optional wired PC mode and easy setup represent an extraordinary step forward for VR hardware while Valve’s Index controllers and its headset’s comfortable optics may provide the most enjoyable way to play Half-Life: Alyx.
Facebook also recently launched a software development kit for experimental controller-free hand tracking. Developers are expected to launch some apps for the mode in 2020, but a few demo projects were made available this week via sideloading.