In an interview with The Information, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg continued to project his bullish outlook on XR as the future of computing, saying that the company is already working on Oculus Quest 3 and 4. He also spoke about what he believes are key features and challenges for future Oculus headsets.

In a conversation published this week, The Information reporters Alex Heath and Mathew Olson spoke with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg about the company’s ongoing XR efforts.

Zuckerberg said, as he has previously, that he believes Quest 2 will be a breakout product in the VR space.

“[…] Quest 2 is I think going to be the first mainstream virtual reality product. It’s already—just in the few months that it’s been out—quite outsold the first version of Quest […].”

He further confirmed the company is already at work on two subsequent versions of the headset.

“Because of how hardware gets developed, you kind of need to know what your next three products are going to look like, all at the same time. It’s not like software where we’re changing it every week or every couple of weeks,” Zuckerberg said. “So we have product teams spun up now working on the next few generations of virtual reality and what Quest 3 and 4 are going to look like. And then of course fundamental technology that goes into that in terms of improving the optics, and the performance of it, and making it smaller and lighter, and adding a lot of functionality that you’d want.”

Zuckerberg said that many of the company’s feature priorities for future VR headsets are guided by the desire to deliver “social presence”—the feeling of being physically near someone even at a distance.

“For example one of the things that I’m really excited about for future versions [of Quest] is getting eye-tracking and face-tracking in, because if you’re really excited about social presence, you want to make sure that the device has all the sensors to really animate realistic avatars so you can communicate well like that.”

While there’s no telling if such features would make it into Quest 3, 4, or beyond, Zuckerberg also highlighted both varifocal optics and high-dynamic range (HDR) displays as key challenges to address in future headsets.

“[…] you have different challenges on the optics around VR then what you’ve had historically with phones or computers. Because, of course, in VR the screen isn’t just in one place. You have objects at different planes. […] in modern VR the displays basically only project stuff at one focal length,” Zuckerberg told The Information reporters. “So your eyes try to focus [when looking at close objects] and you can’t because they’re just projecting one distance. That’s something that needs to get solved. The problem is basically called varifocal… [you need to make] some kind of liquid lenses, or mechanically moving lens that can project things at different distances.”

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Oculus Quest App Lab Reaches 100 Apps in Less Than Two Months

“Probably the hardest challenge though in terms of the display and getting it to be super vivid is… it’s the HDR problem. TVs have gotten a bit better on HDR recently, but the vividness—measured in nits [brightness], is the unit for this—of screens that we have, compared to what your eye sees in the real world, are an order of magnitude or more [insufficient],” Zuckerberg said. “Which means that you’re probably not going to want to live in a world of passthrough VR anytime soon because you’re not going to want to give up the vividness of what your eyes can really see in terms of the contrast and the brightness of colors if everything is just slightly duller in VR.”

Zuckerberg said these were just some of the “basic types of challenges” the company is hoping to solve for “some of the upcoming versions [of our VR headsets] and sort of over the next 10 years […].”

So while Quest 3 & 4 are already in the works, it might be a while yet before we see more advanced features like varifocal or HDR. We’d expect that, in addition to being made smaller and lighter, eye-tracking and mouth-tracking are more likely to make it into Quest headsets in the near term.

Zuckerberg also spoke more broadly about the company’s XR initiatives, including the Facebook smartglasses that are due to launch this year and the wrist-worn input the company has been perusing. See The Information for the complete conversation.

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  • Alex

    From a gaming perspective, I don’t see eye/face-tracking as an upgrade, as it’d mostly be used only in social apps with those said avatars. But I know, Facebook isn’t oriented towards VR gaming, which is kinda sad.

    • Romitus

      With Eye-tracking you can do foveated rendering which improve performance and you can get better vr graphics, or imitate the movement of your pupil to have a better comfort in image and not have always move your head. You cand do a lot stuff to make performance efficient and comfort if you have eye-tracking so.. Its an important thing. About face-tracking, well yeah its for social apps, but could be use in a game to detect your expressions and trigger different lines of speech.

      • Amni3D

        Regarding foveated rendering, the Quest already blurs the absolute heck out of your periphery. Since they’ve been going hard on “fixed foveated rendering”, the performance difference wouldn’t be as big as you’d expect. The real pro would be not having the low res artifacts in your periphery as often.

        I also feel foveated rendering is duct tape on the whole barrel distortion issue, not really fixing it at the source. Why not allow devs to do barrel distortion on a vertex shader, or introduce higher quality lenses that distort less? If the end goal is more clarity with less hardware horsepower.

        I’m sure they have their reasons (vertex lens distortion annoying devs, lenses that distort less cost a fortune), but I feel long term those have a more positive effect on the whole pipeline.

        • Adrian Meredith

          With dynamic fr it can be way more aggressive (something like 80 % less pixels). Right now it still needs you to look around the centre so there’s loads of padding

          • kontis

            Current techniques wouldn’t achieve significant gains no matter how much they cut and how good is the eye tracking. They are all fundamentally inefficient. Drastic changes to GPUs (unless it’s a software renderer implemented on on compute) and game engines are needed to actually achieve good foveated rendering.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            But that’s the problem, drastic changes to the GPU’s or game engines aren’t really feasible as otherwise they would already have been implemented. And foveated rendering isn’t the holy grail.

        • kontis

          Since they’ve been going hard on “fixed foveated rendering”, the performance difference wouldn’t be as big as you’d expect.

          With primitive form of foveated rendering performance gain may not be impressive. It may even degrade (which also happens in oculus solution if the scene has very simple shaders/materials).

          However, the proper implementation, like the raytracing based demoed at Oculus Connect is a completely different story. Nothing available currently comes anywhere close to that. It only needs to render 5% of samples to achieve full quality vision.

          But games are not raytraced yet (we are talking about zero rasterization here, even RTX 3090 can’t do that) and eye tracking of this reliability that works for all people also doesn’t exist yet.

          So achieving most of the potential of foveated rendering probably won’t happen with tech possible in this decade. It’s a very long road of already known things to improve.

          Human eye has only effective resolution of 8 megapixels and 7 megapixels are in the 2 degrees of fovea. This is like 4K display for entire eye and that’s it. And it’s super compressed. HDMI has like 100x higher bandwidth than eye’s nerve.

          • Amni3D

            That last paragraph is interesting info. I wonder what’ll end up being the better option in the future; unga bunga-ing panel resolution with foveated rendering on top, or going full Varjo.

            Regarding the foveated rendering raytracing, I wonder just how much you can give a similar feeling to a fully raytraced image. Is PBR enough to convince the periphery, or would you need to raytrace outside of the fovea to get that same “feeling” that the world has the same lighting model as the center of your vision.

            Either way, TL;DR, crap’s hype.

    • Aryan Gangurde

      I’d like to imagine custom npc interaction based on your facial expressions and maybe those current brain interfaces, I don’t expect that (at least anytime soon) but I think it’s a cool idea

    • Eye tracking is to ease rendering which makes CloudVR that much more feasible.
      Facetracking, on the other hand, is a useless gimmicky buzzword.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        It all depends on what you’re using VR for. If people are using VR for VRChat or meetings, facetracking is far from a useless gimmick, it’s even higher on the list as an upgrade in resolution.. Seeing facialexpression in a meeting is quite important, but if you’re only interested in (single player) gaming (as I gather you are), yeah I understand why you would call it a gimmick.. But more and more business are seeing the advantage of what a cheap headset like the Quest 2 can do to online businessmeetings, so stuff like that gets more important than something like resolution. And in the end, it will drive the cost for VR down and only will increment the speed of having better headsets with better resolution/FOV and stuff like that.

      • ShaneMcGrath

        This down vote from me is not for what you are saying but because you up voted your own comment!

    • Adrian Meredith

      Or how about ANY single player game. The ability for characters to actually look you in the eye will make a huge difference to presence.
      And as for what horror games could do makes me shudder!

      • kontis

        What are you even talking about? No need for eye tracking for that unless you want the computer to know the exact point where you look. Every single human NPC in Half-Life 2 was able to maintain anatomically correct eye contact more than 15 years ago.

      • john

        This is a game dev issue, nothing to do with VR specifically..

    • Geoff

      Eye tracking means they know where you look and at what. From a marketing perspective which Facebook is built around, that is a gold.

  • 144Hz

    I’d like to see better ipd adjustment with a wide range, a wider fov, a bump to 2k for each eye, smaller/lighter size, and of course no facebook login requirement.

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    • Cragheart

      I would like to see 4K for each eye.

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    • Peter Den

      Then you can expect the headset to be WAY more expensive.

      • Cragheart

        I would rather buy a 500 € headset with 4K per eye than a 300 € headset with 1440p per eye.

    • Charles

      Comfort, HDR (OLED or otherwise), and not Facebook.

      • jimmy

        Just don’t buy it

        • Cragheart

          Problem is this industry needs more competition.

          • jimmy

            no we dont, we need more people in vr

    • Andrew Jakobs

      I’ll bet they will have more steps for adjustment with their next headset, I wouldn’t even be suprised if a small refresh of the Quest 2 during reiterration of the productionprocess already would get more steps, as it’s just a few extra notches on the plastic itself.

  • It’s pretty normal that a hardware company already works ahead of 1-2 generations… this comes at no surprise

  • That FRL is developing Quests 3 & 4 isn’t surprising.
    They, like any other tech company, started work on
    Quest 2’s successors as soon as Quest 2 was out the door.
    The AR junk I couldn’t care less about.
    When oh when will people get it through their thick skulls
    that the AR they think of when they imagine a pair of
    sleek AIO AR glasses is AT LEAST half a decade away. lol

  • Bob

    Eye tracking making it to the Quest 3 before varifocal is unlikely Ben. Varifocal requires eye tracking to work so essentially if they’ve fully solved eye tracking to work flawlessly, which poses a much more difficult problem, then both features would be implemented simultaneously on the same device.

    • kontis

      What? No.
      Eye tracking has much more possibilities than just varifocals. And Oculus admitted they aren’t sure if they will ever release a varifocal HMD (the added value has to be worth the cost), but they are pretty sure about eye tracking.
      Like, hello, there is literally a Vive Pro Eye.

      • Bob

        Varifocal capability has already been demonstrated to work in their labs using liquid lenses so it’s more or less “solved”. You can check this out through the FRL web link. The problem here isn’t coming up with a novel method to simulate the way light behaves because they’ve already done that and it works, but actually allowing it to work with absolute reliability and consistency with their own method of eye tracking.

        If eye tracking was a solved problem according to their own standards, you’d seen this feature being implemented with the Quest 2 but this hasn’t been the case. The Vive Pro eye isn’t exactly the best example of reliable eye tracking with 99.9% coverage of the user base. But you’re right, there’s a possibility that they have fully solved the eye tracking problem and it’s ready for prime-time. This means that varifocal isn’t too far away, and the only thing holding Facebook back from implementing this technology into the Quest 3 is through the sheer cost alone.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          Because it’s solved in their labs doesn’t mean it’s actually shipready for a Quest, which needs to have the cost down. I’m pretty sure liquid lenses are pretty expensive for now.
          Eyetracking for social purposes is more than adequate in the Vive Pro Eye, as it doesn’t have to be very accurate for simulating eye movement in virtual avatars. But again, it all comes down to cost, the Vive Pro Eye is $200 more than the full kit, so the eyetracking module is $200, that’s way too much to put in a headset like the Quest, and therefore it didn’t make it into the Quest 2, while they might have already gotten the cost down with a version of eye tracking that might make it into the Quest 3 (again, it doesn’t have to be ultra accurate for the purpose it’s added for).

          • Blaexe

            Just because they ask for $200 more doesn’t mean eye tracking costs $200.

            I don’t see why basic eye tracking (to provide avatars with eyes) manufactured in the millions should cost more than a few bucks hardware wise.

            Facebook is still likely going for higher quality eye tracking to enable Foveated Rendering – and that was not solved at least about half a year ago according to Abrash. But even then, I don’t see why it should be inherently expensive to manufacture.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Well since about every headset with eyetracking is about $200 more as without, and seeing how the tobii versions are also around that price, yoh can surely state that eyetracking at the moment is around $150-180 extra to add for the manufacterer. And I do see facebook adding it purely for facialtracking for the Quest 3, and maybe foveated rendering in quest 4.

          • Blaexe

            No, you can not. That’s a fundamentally flawed concept. HTC asks for $200 more because HTC thinks that’s what people will pay.

            Also economics of scale is a HUGE factor. How many Vive Pro Eyes get sold? A few ten thousands a year? Facebook is looking to sell millions of Quests a year which drives down the price of the components in a very big way.

          • It’s feature/ price point driven in the enterprise sector. But yes for mass consumption with high volumes it comes down to a few bucks per unit.

            Started using Vive Pro Eye when they launched, it’s still a decent headset and thankfully robust as I’ve seen them horribly abused at LBE venue and public demos.

            Got to test a foveated rendering demo on Pro Eye last January, it was impressive and performant, especially the increased super resolution in the centre.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            It certainly was not at the time of release of the HTVive Pro Eye, those tobii units were (and still are) pretty expensive even to companies like HTC, ut certainly not just what people will pay.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      I think the Quest 3 will have eyetracking and mouth tracking. Eyetracking as is available now is perfectly fine for what Facebook wants it for, social immersion.
      I think the Quest 3 will have slightly better displays, more steps for IPD, slightly better lenses and eyetracking, with the next incarnation of the XR2 chip.
      It will have enhancements just like the current Quest 2 has over the Quest 1, not revolutionary enhancements like many here want it to have.

  • rfanck

    so little to say about VR, games and app, it’s necessary to talk about pure speculations….

  • Γεώργιος Παπαδόπουλος

    all well and good The technology never stops. But let us not forget Αναζήτηση Oculus 2 and higher Rate of refresh. developers must prepare the firmware 120 Hz ..

  • Je Moeder

    Shows how much he is out of touch, STOP with the fresnel lenses to start with.
    It’s pathetic that a Gear VR has far superior lenses and that thing costs 70 bucks.
    People are modding their Vive’s with those lenses just to get rid of the awfull blurry edges and godrays/glare.

    • shadow9d9

      It likely keeps the cost down. Let them come out with a quest pro with better lenses.

      • From Alan Yates of Valve;

        “Just understand first that the frensel lenses were specifically designed to minimise some dynamic distortions that we know can cause discomfort and motion sickness. The frensel lenses were not selected for low mass, low cost, hiding subpixel structure, filling SDE or any of the other crazy conspiracy theories I have read. They were the only practical lens technology for hitting the overall set of optimisations we wanted, especially minimising eye-position dependent distortion with a single element. They are not “cheap” lenses and need special equipment to make well. They are lower mass than the “equivalent” non-frensel profile lens, but that is mostly a happy coincidence, if a conventional lens could achieve the same performance in the axes we care about we’d happily tolerate the small mass increase for the reduced stray light and easier moulding. Our goal was to have lenses that worked well for everyone, from the least sensitive to the most easily nauseated. Some people just don’t perceive pupil swim, at least not until you tell them what to look for, and some people once they see it can’t unsee it and it ruins all HMDs with swimmy optics forever for them. Most concerning is that swimmy HMDs cause nausea at an almost subconscious level, you don’t need to perceive it for it to make your experience using the HMD unpleasant.”

        More here:

        https://www.reddit.com/r/Vive/comments/8ea207/comment/dxzkm5o

        • david vincent

          Eye-position dependant distortion is indeed an issue we’re never talking about and never mentionned in the reviews.

          • The variation of asymmetry in human beings is fascinating; headset fitting is incredibly dependant on the individual’s craniofacial structure.

            One sentence I specifically noticed:

            “minimising eye-position dependent distortion with a single element”.

            This is referring to the original Vive, the newer Index uses dual element (lens)

            I’d really like to know more/why/how? But Valve still haven’t released their final deep dive:

            “Optics and Clarity
            Coming Soon”

            https://www.valvesoftware.com/en/index/deep-dive/

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Yeah, I agree, I’m still hesitant to perform the clearlens mod on my Vive Pro as it’s the only headset I have at the moment (and it was expensive). But the fresnel lenses is really something that’s bothering me, including the wire (but 400 euro’s to get it to be wireless is also way too much). For me, if my Vive Pro had clear lenses I wouldn’t even be looking for a newer headset, ofcourse having the G2 with clear lenses and Lighthouse tracking and the same headstrap as the Vive Pro would certainly make it a winner for me now, and if that one in wireless would be IT for me..

    • Geoff

      I thought Fresnel was just to reduce weight?

      • jiink

        Alan Yates from Valve has said: “[Fresnel lenses] are lower mass than the ‘equivalent’ non-frensel profile lens, but that is mostly a happy coincidence”

  • Joshua Hill

    Until they drop the Facebook requirement these headsets are dead in the water. Can’t believe they are wasting money researching and developing them lol

    • Master E

      It’s my only hang up with anything oculus

      Been loving VR for years… it’s like your favorite tech fell in the hands of an enemy you never want to do business with.

      FB

    • Guesto

      How are they dead in the water when Facebook has the majority of headsets on Steam and Quest 2 is the most popular headset despite being released 5 months ago? It’s just a vocal minority whining on Internet forums.

      • Joshua Hill

        I suspect the vast majority of Facebook headset ownership comes from before the announcement.

        The success of the Quest 2 is partly down to it being by far the best standalone VR headset. When comparing tethered or PC headsets things may be different but they aren’t as popular.

        I get the vibe that while those upset by Facebook’s decision are a minority they are not you’re typical tiny but vocal minority.

        There are other headsets that interest me more as an exclusive PC Sim racer (I currently use a reverb G1) but I will bring attention to Facebook’s poor choice when relevant an am interested if not really invested in seeing how it all plays out.

      • david vincent

        They’re dead in the water for those concerned by their personal data…

    • jimmy

      Facebook is good you are bad

      • Joshua Hill

        Oculus good ,Facebook bad, you fanboi

    • CURTROCK

      Ha ha…. You are kidding, right? Some estimates are that FB has sold between 2 and 3 million units since its release in October. This VR HMD is on fire, and selling as fast as FACEBOOK can produce them. Its currently on track to be the highest selling HMD compared to all others. Dead in the water? Wasting money on research? Hardly.

      • Joshua Hill

        “The success of the Quest 2 is partly down to it being by far the best standalone VR headset. When comparing tethered or PC headsets things may be different”

  • My Thoughts

    We can only hope that Facebook is shutdown before Quest 4 comes out.

  • nejihiashi88

    Just use foveated rendering and dlss 80% performance boost, and use hdmi 2.1 instead of the low bandwidth usb.

    • john

      DLSS still needs a lot of work before you want it strapped to your face.

    • xyzs

      HDMI ?
      It’s not a simple video stream between a VR headset and a pc.. The headset also send a lot of data to the pc.
      And HDMI sucks License-wise and technically compare to Display Port, so the best would be thunderbolt.

  • TechPassion

    Nobody cared about VR, bad, crying. One of the biggest companies is moving forward the whole damn, lazy, retarded industry…bad. You all who cry here need mental evaluation.

    • Oscar Jimenez

      My feelings exactly, minus the derisive assertions – not judging, however -, but yeah, I absolutely don’t get why so many people feel like sharing a bunch of not-so-personal-after-all data that amounts to little more than a XXI century equivalent of being listed on the old yellow pages is something so horrible and concerning. If people are so worried about FB knowing… what? Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, as if they had any specific use for knowing exactly that about exactly you or something? Even then, the solution is easy – stop treating FB like a private room in your own home where you can discuss anything freely and be more aware of what it’s always actually been – a soapbox in a place open to the public and owned by someone else.

      The only stuff that FB, Twitter, Instagram, Google, etcetera, knows about you is the stuff that you willingly allow them to know, period. Other than the most basic contact data – of the kind, again, that people used to share leisurely on the yellow pages back in the day – that constitutes the minimum requirements to create an account, everything else is voluntarily given away by people so focused on their own posmodern personal quest – pun intended – for popularity and attention that one can’t help but marvel at the fact that their brains don’t explode out of sheer bias overload every time that they complain over their privacy being supposedly violated by big tech companies.

      The world is a toolbox in all the wrong ways.

    • brandon9271

      but.. Samsung and HP don’t “make crap.” Odyssey and Reverb are both great

  • TechPassion

    You sign up for Oculus account. You add credit card and buy some game. OK, so you don’t buy any game and just rely on free games? But they have your IP! They know it is your computer and you! Do you think they don’t know who you are? Completely brainless people.

  • mike j Larry

    dude work on improving what people just bought and strive to make it the best , better games, better visuals , and content without wifi GEEEEZE

  • Gonzax

    I’d rather have a more involving FOV and decent audio than any of that.

  • Aragon

    I want an HDMI Connector.

    Either a USB 3.0 adapter with 1 – 4 HDMI 2.0 ports, wireless would be even better, which allows to connect every HDMI 2.0 Device to it including 3D Blu Ray Players, consoles and PC to it.

    And it should have Frame Interpolation technology like most TVs, because I hate to watch movies in 24 fps

  • johann jensson

    All this social stuff is ridiculous. I use VR to escape others and to have my alone time. And so does everyone i know that has VR at home.

  • oomph

    “social presence” means FB account within headset
    I am out