Since mid-October 2023, I have had a Meta Quest 3, my first VR glasses of my own, and a VR glasses that, for the first time for the Facebook group “Meta”, also focus on XR, i.e. mixed reality.
The VR glasses work stand-alone, so you don’t need a computer to use the glasses. A heavily customized Android operating system is installed, with its own app store and games that you can start on the glasses.
I don’t want to go into the technical data in detail in this article, but rather I would like to take you on my journey into virtual reality together with Meta Quest 3.
Fresh out of the box, the first thing to do is set up the Meta Quest. The problem: Meta assumes that you have internalized the basic controls relatively quickly – and you have to put the glasses on first. The software gives you some basic instructions when you put the glasses on, such as how to adjust the strap. But how to find the perfect point, for example to optimize the sharpness, is not mentioned. How to use the controllers correctly is also discussed very briefly. Anyone who has ever worn VR glasses, at best one of the previous versions, will quickly find their way around. But for real newbies it would be better if there was the tutorial first – which there is – and then the setup of WLAN, meta account, etc.
I recently had the Meta (Oculus) Quest 1 on my head and was introduced to it by a friend, greetings to Simon at that point. So that wasn’t a problem for me, but you should be tech-savvy.
In contrast to its two predecessors, in Meta Quest 3 you are not simply released into one of the VR menu worlds, instead you look through the glasses; the XR mode is active by default. It’s not that intense at first, but it helps a lot to get used to wearing the glasses and the controls.
The menus magically float in space and can be controlled intuitively with the controllers or with hand recognition.
A clear recommendation from me, be sure to set up the Meta Quest app on your smartphone, so you can work on many topics without having to put on your glasses every time.
And then, of course, it’s best to start with the tutorial application, but there are now two of these. One comes from Meta Quest 1 and 2 and is a pure VR application. She teaches you the basic controls in games and gives you a great feel for what’s possible in the VR playground.
The second application is an XR VR application, so you see the real world again and again and are then teleported into VR worlds through portals. Technically very impressive, especially because objects are of course placed to suit your room. However, some of the tasks are a bit complicated or not well explained.
Meta Quest 3 – Another gaming console
With the Meta Quest it’s basically like with other game consoles: The thing is relatively boring as long as you don’t own any software or games. Be sure to consider this before buying, because the glasses are too expensive just for YouTube videos and Netflix in the virtual living room, so you have to invest additional money.
What I treated myself to is Beat Saber, an absolute VR classic in which you hit dice with lightsabers to the music.
Then Cities: Skylines VR, where you can experience the well-known city building simulation in VR. Smash Drums, reminiscent of Beat Saber but with drums.
Eleven Table Tennis is a table tennis simulation, very cool and a lot of fun.
PianoVision is a real XR game that lets you learn pieces on your real piano or keyboard – very impressive technology.
Tribe allows you to work with large Pioneer DJ consoles (unfortunately with a subscription), as a part-time DJ I had to take a look at it.
And brand new is Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR, a real AC that allows you to play various characters from the series again, but this time from the first-person perspective in VR. It just came out yesterday, we’ll be testing it in the next few weeks.
These are all titles that run on the glasses themselves. If you have a gaming PC, you can also use the PC via cable or WLAN to be able to start more complex games, but more on that in a moment.
Big problem: motion sickness, motion sickness, VR sickness…
Choose the name. Maybe you know what it’s like when you’re on a ship and there’s a bit of swell and you feel sick. Unfortunately, you also have this same phenomenon in the VR world. Especially when you see movements but don’t execute them – i.e. when you move with the controller.
Unfortunately, how pronounced this is varies greatly, but you probably already know if you are inclined to it. I like to take tablets on ships, but that shouldn’t become a habit for VR…
Basically, this effect is hardly present as long as you carry out all the movements in VR yourself. In Beat Saber, for example, you move with your whole body to hit the blocks and avoid obstacles. I have no problem with that and can do it for hours.
I had to return Cities: VR, the game relies on you flying around in the air to build the city, I couldn’t do that for long.
VR pros say it will get better – we’ll see. Still, for me that means: I just can’t play some games, no matter how much I want to.
This can be remedied if there are no circular movements, but instead you teleport to move. Often destroys the inversion, but sometimes the only chance of being able to play such games. But the game has to dictate that.
After the first 30 minutes of Assassin’s Creed, it can be said that Ubisoft has put a lot of effort into making the game accessible to everyone. From completely open climbing and running to teleporting, everything is included to improve comfort.
More games with PC
Even though the Meta Quest is capable of playing stand-alone games and apps, a real gaming PC of course has much more power. Accordingly, some really cool games only work in combination with a corresponding PC. I tried that too, and I can say: you really need NASA computers to be able to calculate complex games with high resolution for VR.
The quest is connected with “Quest Link”, either via WLAN – i.e. wirelessly via your network – or with a USB-C cable to your PC.
Minecraft in VR is the least power-hungry game, but here you notice how quickly you can look around in the normal PC game and sometimes make 360° turns. Because of course: rotations are really yours to do here. Accordingly, the overall speed of the game is significantly slower than on the PC. Still, it’s extremely impressive to stand in a Minecraft world, it’s a different feeling. The controls are surprisingly well adapted.
Hitman 3 is one of the few AAA titles that offer a full VR mode, here too the gaming experience is completely different, the weapon that can quickly save your ass on the PC quickly becomes a challenge here. You have to aim with the rear sight and front sight, not that easy. Otherwise, of course, you have a completely different perception, clarity is much more difficult here, and the murder also feels very strange because it is more realistic.
Google Earth VR is also very impressive, you can look at cities around the world in 3D and also view Street View recordings – but they don’t seem that impressive because they are 360 degrees, but not 3D.
And for me the premier class, the Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020: It is extremely impressive to sit in a real 3D cockpit, especially if you know the aircraft and can find your way around. However, the control of an A320 FBW is sometimes very fiddly, and of course, even an RTX 3070 is not enough to calculate this with good quality.
Additional accessories are of course a matter in themselves, firstly they cost extra and you don’t usually necessarily need them, but of course they can be helpful. So I assume that I will get another headband in the medium term to further increase comfort.
What I’ve already bought is the charging station from Meta itself, because in the last three weeks the glasses and the two controllers have always been flying around somewhere, which isn’t really helpful in the long run.
The Meta Quest 3 does a lot of things right, the XR functions, the image quality and general feel leave little to be desired for the price of around 550 euros for the 128 GB version. Of course there is more, and what is particularly noticeable so far is that many games and applications are obviously still adapted to the old generations. So you don’t yet benefit from the increased performance and better resolution in all applications.
If you’re looking for an introduction to an already well-developed VR world, you’ll definitely get a lot for your money here.
We’ll report on how the glasses continue to fit into everyday life in the next few weeks.