The answer is yes and no.
*[UPDATE: 12/15/20] We’ve updated the piece to better clarify the potential dangers of outdoor use.
So you just got your hands on Facebook’s incredible standalone VR headset, the Oculus Quest 2, and are excited to jump into a massive catalogue of AAA games and experiences. There’s just one problem, you don’t have enough physical space to play!
For those who may be out of the loop, the Oculus Quest 2 offers 6DoF (degrees of freedom) functionality, allowing you to navigate virtual worlds by physically moving throughout your real-world environment. Referred to as “Roomscale”, Oculus recommends a plays space of of 6.5 feet by 6.5 feet (2 meters by 2 meters) of unobstructed space. That’s not required, it’s just what they recommend. There’s always “Stationary Mode”, but anyone with a 6DoF headset will tell you how much more immersive Roomscale can be.
When it came to the original Oculus Quest, some users found success in moving their play sessions outside, allowing them to harness the unlimited space afforded by mother nature to literally run throughout their virtual worlds; a risky move considering the fact that direct sunlight has the ability to damage the lenses and sensors. But what about the Oculus Quest 2? Can Facebook’s new-and-improved headset also be used outdoors? Well, the answer is yes and no.
Technically the Oculus Quest 2 headset can function outside. You may experience a few inconsistencies with the inside-out tracking depending on the lighting conditions and weather, but overall you should have no difficulty jogging throughout your virtual space. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the Touch controllers.
Unlike the headset itself, the Quest 2 Touch controllers do not function well outdoors. It appears as though the Oculus Quest 2 cameras have difficulty tracking the controllers in brightly-lit environments; the same goes for Oculus Quest hand-tracking. That being said you may find better luck with darker lighting conditions, whether it be from an outdoor canopy or overcast weather. Put simply, the more shade, the better the headset and controller tracking.
So, does the Oculus Quest 2 work outside? Well it all depends on your definition of “work”. While it’s true you can physically move throughout your virtual environments via inside-out tracking, your controllers will not be along for the ride, making it virtually impossible to interact with games and apps. Still, it’s nice being able to take a leisurely stroll throughout your favorite virtual worlds without having to worry about walking head-first into a wall. Just make sure to set your Oculus Quest 2 to Developer Mode so that you can deactivate the guardian system. Again, direct sunlight does have the ability to damage your headset. If you do choose to play outside stick to shadier areas away from the sun when at all possible.
Looking for a more social VR experience? Check out our most recent video where we break down the many different ways to watch movies and TV with friends on Quest 2. Those brand new to Oculus Quest 2 may also want to watch our official Getting Started video, where we breakdown how to setup your Quest 2 as well as your first five downloads!
Image Credit: VRScout