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Killexams : IBM InfoSphere reality - BingNews https://killexams.com/pass4sure/exam-detail/P2150-739 Search results Killexams : IBM InfoSphere reality - BingNews https://killexams.com/pass4sure/exam-detail/P2150-739 https://killexams.com/exam_list/IBM Killexams : 11 Best Virtual Reality Stocks to Buy

In this piece, we will take a look at the 11 best virtual reality stocks to buy. For more stocks, head on over to 5 Best Virtual Reality Stocks to Buy.

Advances in semiconductor fabrication and manufacturing have enabled chip makers to squeeze unthinkable amounts of computing power into pieces of silicon the size of a human thumbnail. This growth has also spurred industries of its own, and one such sector is the virtual reality segment of the broader technology industry.

Virtual reality, as the name suggests, refers to technologies that create an artificial representation of reality for users to immerse themselves into - whether for entertainment or productivity needs. This is achieved through headsets, processors, and software, with different companies providing different technologies for the processes.

The virtual reality industry was estimated to be worth $4.4 billion in 2020, and through a massive compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 44.8%, the segment can be worth a whopping $84 billion in 2029, according to a research report from Fortune Business Insights. Driving this growth will be several factors, such as the demand for virtual training platforms in industries, that let firms prepare their employees for complex tasks without investing in physical infrastructure. This allows companies in industries such as automobile manufacturing to reduce worker injuries and conduct factory personnel training safely.

Another research report, this time from Valuates Report, analyzes both the virtual and augmented reality markets. Augment reality is a subset of virtual reality that serves as a 'bolt on' to existing reality instead of rendering a completely new environment. This research firm believes that the markets were worth $14 billion in 2020 and through a strong CAGR of 41%, they will grow to sit at $454 billion by the end of 2030.

Therefore, looking at these estimates, it's clear that virtual reality has a bright future ahead of it, despite the bloodbath in technology stocks this year. Today's piece will look at the key players in the industry and some well known firms in the list are Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD), Meta Platforms, Inc. (NASDAQ:META), and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT).

Photo by mahdis mousavi on Unsplash

Our Methodology

We took a look at the virtual reality industry and current trends to pick out which firms are currently offering creative products and services in the industry. We preferred companies with strong financial performance, technological advantages, and relevance to current industry dynamics. These stocks are ranked via hedge fund sentiment gathered through Insider Monkey's 895 fund survey for this year's second quarter.

11. Tencent Holdings Limited (OTCMKTS:TCEHY)

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 2

Tencent Holdings Limited (OTCMKTS:TCEHY) is a Chinese conglomerate that owns several companies including the video game developer Epic Games. The firm is headquartered in Shenzhen, the People's Republic of China.

Epic Games is one of the most well known game developers in the world, which rose to fame due to its Fortnite gaming brand. The company, like other game developers, is also targeting the metaverse industry which is seeing strong interest from large firms. Sony and The Lego Group invested a whopping $2 billion in Epic Games in 2022 to spur metaverse development.

Additionally, Epic Games' Unreal Engine, which is used by video game developers to develop their products, is capable of developing assets that support 3D visualization and augmented and virtual realities. Insider Monkey's Q2 2022 survey of 895 hedge funds revealed that two had invested in Tencent Holdings Limited (OTCMKTS:TCEHY).

Along with Meta Platforms, Inc. (NASDAQ:META), Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD), and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Tencent Holdings Limited (OTCMKTS:TCEHY) is a top virtual reality stock.

10. MicroVision, Inc. (NASDAQ:MVIS)

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 4

MicroVision, Inc. (NASDAQ:MVIS) is an American company that develops sensors used in automobiles. Additionally, it also develops a scanning technology that enables the creation of large images for a full field of view. It also develops displays concepts, designs, and modules that are used in augmented and virtual reality headsets. The firm is headquartered in Redmond, Washington.

MicroVision, Inc. (NASDAQ:MVIS)'s lidar systems scored a big win in September 2022, when chip giant NVIDIA Corporation announced that the MAIN DR dynamic view system would be supported by NVIDIA's Drive AGX platform. This will Improve highway safety for vehicles.

By the end of its second fiscal quarter, MicroVision, Inc. (NASDAQ:MVIS) had $93 million in cash, which is important given the company's weak operating income profile. The firm has invested some of this into treasury securities, and its latest quarterly operating costs stood at $9.7 million - giving it plenty of runway room. Four out of the 895 hedge funds polled by Insider Monkey for their June quarter of 2022 portfolios had invested in the company.

MicroVision, Inc. (NASDAQ:MVIS)'s largest investor in our database is Daniel S. Och's Sculptor Capital which owns 572,200 shares that are worth $2.1 million.

9. Matterport, Inc. (NASDAQ:MTTR)

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 7

Matterport, Inc. (NASDAQ:MTTR) is an American company that caters to the front end of the virtual reality space. Its software applications allow developers to capture the depth and imagery of a physical space to create a virtual reality environment. The firm is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California.

Matterport, Inc. (NASDAQ:MTTR) reported a strong second fiscal quarter earlier this year, which despite negative revenue growth, saw the firm expand its presence in the market. At the earnings, the firm announced that its subscribers grew by a massive 52% annually to stand at 616,000 during the quarter.

Matterport, Inc. (NASDAQ:MTTR) also counts some of the largest companies in the world as its customers, with firms such as Proctor & Gamble, Sealy, and Netflix part of the 23% of the Fortune 1000 firms that use the company's products. Additionally, the firm's latest quarter also saw it grow its services revenue by 74% and its subscription revenue by 20%.

Insider Monkey took a look at 895 hedge funds for their second quarter of 2022 holdings to discover that 7 had invested in Matterport, Inc. (NASDAQ:MTTR).

Matterport, Inc. (NASDAQ:MTTR)'s largest investor is Chase Coleman and Feroz Dewan's Tiger Global Management LLC which owns 3.6 million shares that are worth $13 million.

8. Unity Software Inc. (NYSE:U)

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 23

Unity Software Inc. (NYSE:U) is a software platform provider whose products allow its customers to develop 2D and 3D content for a wide variety of gadgets and devices such as smartphones, tablets, computers, gaming consoles, and virtual and augmented reality platforms. The firm is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

Unity Software Inc. (NYSE:U) is also aggressively targeting growth, with its research and development expenses during its second fiscal quarter representing close to 73% of its revenue. This opens up a large opportunity for explosive growth in the future, should these investments bear fruit.

Needham set a $50 share price target for the company in October 2022, stating that its software platform is one of the best in the world and will benefit from the strong growth in the demand for 3D content. 23 out of the 895 hedge funds polled by Insider Monkey during the second quarter of this year had invested in Unity Software Inc. (NYSE:U).

Out of these, Jim Davidson, Dave Roux, and Glenn Hutchins's Silver Lake Partners is Unity Software Inc. (NYSE:U)'s largest investor. It owns 34 million shares that are worth $1.2 billion.

7. Roblox Corporation (NYSE:RBLX)

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 26

Roblox Corporation (NYSE:RBLX) is an online operating platform operator and developer whose studio allows developers to create and operate virtual 3D environments. The firm is headquartered in San Mateo, California, the United States.

Roblox Corporation (NYSE:RBLX) posted record high revenues of $600 million in its second fiscal quarter, which enabled it to cross $1 billion in revenue for the first half of this year. The company's extreme focus on its products led it to develop a voice chat feature for months before it finally rolled it out to users. Additionally, it has a creative advertising strategy, which creates a unique environment that lets users interact with the ad and then make potential purchases.

Roblox Corporation (NYSE:RBLX)'s platforms are also attractive for advertisers since they provide a large user base of young users that are yet to cement their buying preferences. Needham reduced the company's share price target to $53 from $55 in September 2022, stating that its advertising platform is one of a kind. Insider Monkey's Q2 2022 895 hedge fund survey saw 26 having held a stake in the company.

Roblox Corporation (NYSE:RBLX)'s largest investor is Jim Simons' Renaissance Technologies which owns 11.5 million shares that are worth $380 million.

6. Sony Group Corporation (NYSE:SONY)

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 26

Sony Group Corporation (NYSE:SONY) is a Japanese multinational platform that designs and sells consumer electronics products and owns video game development platforms. The company is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan.

Sony Group Corporation (NYSE:SONY) operates in the hardware side of the virtual reality ecosystem, as it designs and sells the PlayStation PS VR headset. This headset has two modes, 3D and 2D modes. The former lets users view content in HDR resolution at 90Hz or 120Hz, and the latter lets them play games in HDR at 24Hz, 60Hz, and 120Hz.

When compared to some other virtual reality companies that have weak financials, Sony Group Corporation (NYSE:SONY) is an established player that has sold millions of units of its gaming consoles and brings in close to $100 billion in revenue each year. By the end of this year's second quarter, 26 of the 895 hedge funds surveyed by Insider Monkey had bought the company's shares.

Out of these, Sony Group Corporation (NYSE:SONY)'s largest investor is Mario Gabelli's GAMCO Investors which owns 1.7 million shares that are worth $146 million.

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD), Meta Platforms, Inc. (NASDAQ:META), and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Sony Group Corporation (NYSE:SONY) is a VR stock you must look at.

Click to continue memorizing and see 5 Best Virtual Reality Stocks to Buy.

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Disclosure: None. 11 Best Virtual Reality Stocks to Buy is originally published on Insider Monkey.

Fri, 14 Oct 2022 05:37:00 -0500 en-US text/html https://finance.yahoo.com/news/11-best-virtual-reality-stocks-170307344.html
Killexams : Augmented Reality Must Live Up To Its Name

For artists, technologists, engineers, advertisers and dreamers, augmented reality (AR) is the holy grail of digital experience. This tech promises to make magic real: to manifest whatever we can imagine in physical space.

But we're not there yet. Today, most of what is called AR is not worthy of the name. Rather than being an augmentation of reality, it is a poor facsimile of a powerful idea.

So much more is possible.

In the past few weeks, the world has woken up to the boundless potential of AR to transform how we live, learn, work and interact. Apple's CEO Tim Cook says we will end up wondering how we ever lived without it.

But as we take the first steps into this bright future, it is more critical than ever that we wake up to a fundamental truth: No matter how vivid our digital creations, AR will fall short of its full promise unless and until these can be accurately placed in the real world and, more importantly, fully shareable with others.

It's Not 'Real' if It Can't Be Shared

Imagination is hard-wired into the human psyche. From early childhood, we embellish our outer worlds with elements of our inner lives. But since there is no way for those around us to tap into those private imaginings, they remain wholly subjective and unverifiable.

Whether or not a sensory experience is shared by others has a critical impact on whether we ourselves believe it to be real. If you are the only one in a crowded room to hear a whispering voice, you will feel isolated and strange. You may start to question your own perception — perhaps even your sanity.

But if others around you say they've heard it too, you're back on solid ground. What you've experienced is valid and therefore must be real.

This is what is known as intersubjectivity, the process of sharing knowledge and experiences with others.

Today, the vast majority of AR tech does not support intersubjective experiences. Indeed, it is often little more than gimmicky filters on our solitary devices that are difficult to share.

If I conjure up a fire-breathing dragon in my back garden, there is no way for me to photograph myself with it or to impress you with the breadth of its wingspan. And if I can't share the magic, it becomes no more satisfying than watching a YouTube video that can't be shared or scrolling through Facebook alone.

Shared Magic Is Real Magic

And while AR does have the potential to work real magic — to port the products of our imaginations into the physical world — the examples we have access to today are often no more remarkable than the artificial backgrounds on Zoom.

If we want AR to enable a true augmentation of reality, we need to use tech that supports shared digital experiences in the physical world.

Given AR's potential to transform everything from how we train fighter pilots to how doctors collaborate on cases, it is crucial that we address the issue of shared AR now or important interactive experiences will not be possible.

Positioning, Positioning, Positioning

The answer is surprisingly simple. It all boils down to precise positioning.

Many assume that objects and environments that exist in AR are automatically anchored in a fixed location and that it should be easy for multiple people to experience the same things in the same places. The truth is this is never the case.

There are apps that offer rough estimates of where AR objects are placed in physical spaces but these are nowhere near accurate enough. You and your friend may be viewing the same AR unicorn in all its sparkling detail. But while your device may show it standing solidly by the door, hers may show it floating near the ceiling.

When positioning fidelity is this low, intersubjectivity simply isn't possible. While you may be together, your experience cannot meaningfully be described as a shared reality.

This shortcoming becomes particularly jarring when you and a friend or colleague try to engage in a shared physical activity involving digital equipment. Virtual tennis is an impossibility when the ball is in one place for you and somewhere else for your opponent. The same goes for racing digital cars. The list goes on.

Precise Location Is Key to Shared Experiences in AR

The reason it's been so difficult to position AR objects in physical space until now is that our mobile devices don't share a consistent, precise coordinate system.

It's true that smartphones come equipped with GPS, which does make it possible to establish shared geographical parameters to some degree. But for a host of reasons, GPS is far from exact enough for true intersubjectivity.

GPS may be able to establish that an AR object is in a given house, but not whether it is in the bedroom or bathroom. Never mind whether it is sitting on top of a table or under it.

The logical solution to this would be a more precise version of GPS. That, however, would mean a system that is completely unaffected by those factors that hinder GPS fidelity, which range from signal blockage by physical obstacles to poor weather or even solar storms. Smartphone GPS is usually accurate to within a 4.9-meter radius, but only under a clear sky and away from buildings, bridges and trees.

The near-term fix for AR's location problem is much simpler, and billions of dollars less expensive. Rather than spending years on creating a hyper-accurate coordinate system, we should move away from geographical anchors altogether.

Instead of two devices trying to pinpoint their respective locations on a map, they merely need to establish where they are relative to one another. In other words, rather than relying on a fixed set of coordinates, devices should be equipped with technology that can create shared, one-off coordinate systems on an as-needed basis.

Say you and I want to race our digital Ferraris along a beach. With this technology, all we'd need to do is synchronize our devices so they "agree" on their relative positions. Once they have an accurate sense of where they are in an ephemeral space, shared reality is possible.

The larger-scale, more complex AR environments I foresee in the future may well one day require a universal 3D positioning system that uses powerful consensus algorithms and persistent location anchors.

But for today's augmented reality to be more than a buzzword, we need to focus on precise positioning and the technologies we can use right now to precisely share location and invite others into our enhanced reality. With these tools, we can transform AR from a gimmick into a technology that enhances all of our lives.

(Johannes Davidsson is the Head Of Business Development at Auki Labs, an AR tech company creating a decentralized protocol for collaborative spatial computing.)

The augmented reality glasses can provide information on objects AFP / Josep LAGO
Thu, 13 Oct 2022 20:39:00 -0500 en-US text/html https://www.ibtimes.com/augmented-reality-must-live-its-name-3624070
Killexams : IBM’s former CEO downplays the importance of a college degree for six-figure earning ‘new collar’ jobs that now make up half of its workers

A four-year bachelor’s degree has long been the first rung to climbing America’s corporate ladder.

But the move to prioritize skills over a college education is sweeping through some of America’s largest companies, including Google, EY, Microsoft, and Apple. Strong proponents say the shift helps circumvent a needless barrier to workplace diversity.

“I really do believe an inclusive diverse workforce is better for your company, it’s good for the business,” Ginni Rometty, former IBM CEO, told Fortune Media CEO Alan Murray during a panel last month for Connect, Fortune’s executive education community. “That’s not just altruistic.”

Under Rometty’s leadership in 2016, tech giant IBM coined the term “new collar jobs” in reference to roles that require a specific set of skills rather than a four-year degree. It’s a personal commitment for Rometty, one that hits close to home for the 40-year IBM veteran.

When Rometty was 16, her father left the family, leaving her mother, who’d never worked outside the home, suddenly in the position to provide.

“She had four children and nothing past high school, and she had to get a job to…get us out of this downward spiral,” Rometty recalled to Murray. “What I saw in that was that my mother had aptitude; she wasn’t dumb, she just didn’t have access, and that forever stayed in my mind.”

When Rometty became CEO in 2012 following the Great Recession, the U.S. unemployment rate hovered around 8%. Despite the influx of applicants, she struggled to find employees who were trained in the particular cybersecurity area she was looking for.

“I realized I couldn’t hire them, so I had to start building them,” she said.

In 2011, IBM launched a corporate social responsibility effort called the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) in Brooklyn. It’s since expanded to 11 states in the U.S. and 28 countries.

Through P-TECH, Rometty visited “a very poor high school in a bad neighborhood” that received the company’s support, as well as a community college where IBM was offering help with a technology-based curriculum and internships.

“Voilà! These kids could do the work. I didn’t have [applicants with] college degrees, so I learned that propensity to learn is way more important than just having a degree,” Rometty said.

Realizing the students were fully capable of the tasks that IBM needed moved Rometty to return to the drawing board when it came to IBM’s own application process and whom it was reaching. She said that at the time, 95% of job openings at IBM required a four-year degree. As of January 2021, less than half do, and the company is continuously reevaluating its roles.

For the jobs that now no longer require degrees and instead rely on skills and willingness to learn, IBM had always hired Ph.D. holders from the very best Ivy League schools, Rometty told Murray. But data shows that the degree-less hires for the same jobs performed just as well. “They were more loyal, higher retention, and many went on to get college degrees,” she said.

Rometty has since become cochair of OneTen, a civic organization committed to hiring, promoting, and advancing 1 million Black individuals without four-year degrees within the next 10 years.

If college degrees no longer become compulsory for white-collar jobs, many other qualifications—skills that couldn’t be easily taught in a boot camp, apprenticeship program, or in the first month on the job—could die off, too, University of Virginia Darden School of Business professor Sean Martin told Fortune last year.

“The companies themselves miss out on people that research suggests…might be less entitled, more culturally savvy, more desirous of being there,” Martin said. Rather than pedigree, he added, hiring managers should look for motivation.

That’s certainly the case at IBM. Once the company widened its scope, Rometty said, the propensity to learn quickly became more of an important hiring factor than just a degree.

This story was originally featured on Fortune.com

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Sun, 16 Oct 2022 06:27:00 -0500 en-US text/html https://finance.yahoo.com/news/ibm-former-ceo-downplays-importance-165139880.html
Killexams : What happened to the virtual reality gaming revolution?
What happened to the virtual reality gaming revolution?
Aurich Lawson / Getty Images

Six years ago, consumer virtual reality seemed set to be the next major tech breakthrough.

With the demonstration of his impressive prototype Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD) in 2012, Palmer Luckey managed to instantly erase the poor image VR had garnered from ‘90s movies like The Lawnmower Man and woefully premature commercial curios like Nintendo’s Virtual Boy. This led the Kickstarter campaign for the first Oculus developer kit to balloon past its $250,000 funding goal on the way to a final haul of $2.4 million. Two years later, Oculus accepted a $2 billion buyout offer from Facebook.

The lead-up to the 2016 launch of the first consumer version of the Oculus Rift (the CV1) only raised consumer VR’s profile further. Analyst predictions were bullish, going so far as to say that the VR market would be worth $150 billion in just five years. Oculus’ co-founders were breathlessly profiled in glossy magazines, with Luckey landing on the cover of Time in August 2015. Google even partnered with Disney to deliver away its low-tech paper Cardboard sleeves, enticing fans of Star Wars and other mega properties with themed mobile experiences. Decades removed from the hangover of failed VR arcades and gimmicky consumer trinkets, things would be different this time.

Double Fine’s Tim Schafer put it best at DICE 2016. “We all wanted Snow Crash to happen, and then we put on the things, and it was just Pterodactyl Terror, and we all threw up,” he told Ars, possibly (jokingly) misnaming Virtuality's less-than-stellar VR arcade experiment Dactyl Nightmare. “I think there’s been a huge leap [this time].”

Six years later, VR has yet to reach the stratospheric heights its cyberpunk fantasy promised. But the latest wave hasn’t been another high-profile failure, either. Meta’s Quest 2 headset has helped significantly revitalize consumer interest in the sector with its user-friendly experience and relatively low price (though it's not as low as it once was), with its Oculus Store supporting a handful of bona fide VR-native hit games.

This all goes a long way toward explaining how, given the ups and downs of iteration and experimentation that followed Rift’s consumer release, VR developers and watchers told Ars they’re still excited about virtual reality—and they're thrilled to see where the technology is heading next. And while the initial enthusiasm about its global impact has been tempered a bit since 2016, most in the space now say it doesn’t need to have a profound impact to be a success.

Hype meets reality

The Rift CV1.
Enlarge / The Rift CV1.
Evan-Amos
When the Rift CV1 was released, evangelists proclaimed that VR wasn’t just going to revolutionize games—it would change the world. (Goldman Sachs said in 2016 that mass adoption of VR hardware alone would overpower the $99 billion TV market by 2025, and it was hardly the only company making such lofty claims.)

But an instant revolution was never in the cards, as Road to VR executive editor Ben Lang told Ars. “The expectation among the nascent industry was that it was going to be this crazy takeoff,” Lang said. “But as happens with very new technology, until you can go from pure hype—like, ‘this is going to change everything,’—to really finding specific useful cases, it never becomes this instant, overnight thing.”

Back in 2016, it seemed that every major tech company was eager to carve out its piece of the VR pie. Rift and HTC’s Vive were available for PC early that year, while Sony’s PSVR would be out in October for PS4. On the mobile side, Google improved on its Cardboard product with its mobile-powered Daydream to counter Samsung’s Gear VR.

PSVR.
Enlarge / PSVR.
Mark Walton
All of them had flaws. The Rift and Vive offered low-latency, room-scale VR (allowing users to optionally move around a to-scale physical space), but they needed $1,000-plus PC rigs for its high-res visuals and used external sensors that users had to install. PSVR’s cheaper price meant a processing ceiling, cruder motion tracking, and lower-fidelity games.

Mobile options might barely run at all, being at the mercy of a user’s under-spec smartphone that could often lead to choppy, nausea-inducing experiences—and any devices worth more than a cursory look were locked to Android phones. To top it off, the more capable first-gen HMDs weren’t exactly light and could be uncomfortable if worn too long.

The HTC Vive.
Enlarge / The HTC Vive.
Lee Hutchinson

Controllers were another mixed bag. The Vive offered the best motion tracking available, while the Rift initially shipped with an Xbox One controller (until Oculus introduced its Touch controllers later that year). Though better than PSVR’s finicky PS3 Move tech, first-gen tracking on PC was nevertheless prone to calibration issues. Gear VR and Daydream were a step behind that, only supporting “three degrees of freedom” movement that didn’t let users move their heads or arms freely in a digital space. (And without front-facing cameras, strapping on most headsets amounted to being blindfolded.)

Despite improvements to hardware designs over the next few years, the initial appetite for VR consumption out of the gate was nowhere near what investors had been counting on. The future would have to wait.

A lot of hassle

Aside from hardware itself, adoption of the first generation of new VR devices remained in a niche largely because early HMDs weren’t known for their ease of use. The resulting “friction” in the user experience took any number of forms—motion sickness, platform accessibility, difficult physical hardware setup, PC compatibility, motion control calibration, and onboarding—all of which were major hurdles to enjoying first-gen setups.

Andrew Eiche, the head of Job Simulator developer Owlchemy Labs, recalls some of the painful specifics. “You had to get a big, beefy computer and put holes in your wall to hang [sensors] at the corners of your house to get the best tracking possible, with lasers shooting everywhere,” he said. “And then you had this setup that takes up to 30 minutes to get stable—and then it was finally time to go. That's a lot of friction, right?”

Ironlights developer E. McNeill agreed, though he has found that hardware user-friendliness has improved over time. “I'm not that technically challenged, but I feel like every time I use PC VR, I have to do some sort of troubleshooting,” he said. “That's less true now than it was, but for a long time, it was a pain in the ass more often than it should have been.”

Lang gave a simple example by way of comparison: sending a text. “If my headset was the only place I could send a text, I’d never ever go through all of those steps—put on the headset, turn it on, boot an application and type it there,” he said. “But because my smartphone is five seconds away, I do it all the time. So as friction decreases, practical use cases expand.”

In other words, whatever you’re doing in VR has to be worth a significant amount of trouble. “Right now, VR is great for a small number of things that warrant going through that friction,” he said. “So if that’s an amazing, super-immersive game you can play for an hour or two in one sitting, you’ll go through that five minutes to get it all set up for that big reward.”

A new Quest

The Oculus Quest, as enjoyed by an invisible model.
Enlarge / The Oculus Quest, as enjoyed by an invisible model.
Oculus
When it comes to reducing that friction, the 2019 release of the standalone Oculus Quest was a true game-changer, according to developers we talked to. “It’s better to think about Quest 2 as a console,” Cloudhead Games CEO Denny Unger told us. “That's really what it is. It's an all-in-one VR console.”

Unger said that Cloudhead made rhythm shooter Pistol Whip specifically with the Quest in mind in 2019. “So when a lot [studios] saw that early on, we recognized it would be a significant mover of the technology for mainstream adoption. And that turned out totally to be the case.”

Chris Milk, CEO and cofounder of tech company Within, was similarly mindful of accessibility when developing its subscription-based fitness app Supernatural for Quest hardware. Though resembling other VR fitness game layouts at a glance, Supernatural uses what Milk calls distinct “modalities” for boxing, meditation, and “flow,” or full-body aerobics, all accompanied by scripted trainer instruction—and specifically designed to be as easy as possible.

But Milk believes the “bifurcated” divide between PC and mobile—and how they were marketed—didn’t convince anyone that VR was easy or worthwhile before the Quest.

“You had tethered headsets with controller tracking—basically the functionality of a Quest on a far more expensive, cumbersome, and complicated model—and you had 3 DoF [degrees of freedom], cheaper, way more accessible headsets with super limited processing,” he said. “The [split] way that evolved wasn’t advantageous for VR’s adoption, growth, and abundance.”

Milk said that in a pre-Quest world, he wouldn’t have made a VR app in a PC-only environment. “Supernatural doesn’t work on a headset plugged into a $1,500 gaming PC; it works exceptionally well for an all-in-one device. We built it with the knowledge that all-in-one devices were coming.”

Facebook released its last tethered Rift headset in 2019, discontinuing the line in favor of the console-like, all-in-one path exemplified by the Quest line. Lang sees it as a needed course correction after 2016’s false start.

“By moving to standalone, Meta acknowledged that PC wasn’t working [for VR],” he said. “That was a conscious effort to start eliminating the biggest friction issues [and] PC troubleshooting nightmares—who knows if their USB controller has enough throughput? So eliminating PC wasn’t just cheaper; it was easier to set up.”

Meta’s world

The Quest 2.
Enlarge / The Quest 2.
If there’s a single product defining the state of VR in 2022, it’s the Quest 2. Meta’s second all-in-one headset, released in 2020, reigns over the VR space, accounting for as much as 90 percent of HMD sales, according to a June report from the market research firm IDC.

All told, the Quest 2 has sold around 15 million units so far, according to IDC Research. To put that number into some context, that’s roughly on par with estimated lifetime sales of the Xbox Series X|S in late 2020 and only slightly behind 22 million sales for the PlayStation 5 in the same timeframe. Then again, the Nintendo Switch has sold about 52 million units since the Quest 2’s launch (and tens of millions more before it).

Still, Quest 2 sales are more than double the sales of its nearest VR competition, PlayStation VR, which sold approximately 6 million headsets since its 2016 launch. It’s also about 15 times the conservative estimate Oculus co-founder Brendan Iribe once predicted for sales of the first Rift.

The explosive success of the Quest 2 has completely changed the tenor of the VR software market, according to Survios CEO Seth Gerson. “[VR] went from a 500,000 unit installed base in 2017 to more than 14 million today,” Gerson said in an email. “That is real growth.”

McNeill took a more measured approach to describe the “Quest effect,” though he agrees Meta’s headset has been a breakthrough.

“I think Quest 2 really was a big inflection point for mainstream adoption. And... it’s a curve that's still sloping upward,” said McNeill, who has made five VR games on various platforms since 2014. “And it's really hard to say that VR has made it or is dying or really anything while it's still on that upward trajectory. It's frankly too early. Nobody knows where that curve will bend and plateau.”

Comparisons between the Quest 2 outselling more powerful Xbox Series hardware came up in multiple conversations as well. “Is Xbox mainstream? I have yet to find anyone who says it is not,” said Gerson, whose studio has made a name for itself with popular licensed VR titles like Creed: Rise of Glory and The Walking Dead: Onslaught. “Our larger [VR] games sell more than 2 million units of software alone. With new devices and more hardware coming online next year, you can start to add millions of additional units per title."

Beyond the current success, Gerson is confident that VR is just now on the cusp of a much bigger moment. “As I look at our weekly sales numbers this year, I only see volumes increasing, to the point we have to adjust our yearly forecast upward,” he said. “Immersion is the future. It is the paradigm shift, and the inflection point was last year.”

Setting new standards

The success of the Quest 2 comes down to several factors. The lack of major rivals releasing comparable headsets around the same time certainly helped, as did a pandemic-led boom in demand for immersive entertainment at home.

But the Quest was also given a big leg up thanks to one major technical innovation: inside-out tracking. Unlike most earlier headsets, which required external cameras to keep track of head and hand positions, the Quest hardware uses algorithmic data and camera sensors embedded in a headset to detect the physical environment around a user.

Since the release of Quest, the market has shifted to the point where every single VR headset in development today is expected to use the feature. That wasn’t always fated to be the case, though. “It's so funny to think of inside-out tracking as the gold standard when it was this experimental, weird thing that sometimes shifted your floor into your face,” Eiche said of the tech’s beginning as a Facebook research project.

While tethered PC headsets like the Rift S also used inside-out tracking, the Quest line improved things by going completely wireless. Looking ahead, the Quest Pro, ByteDance’s Pico 4 series, and Apple’s mixed-reality set have all opted to drop a mandatory tether, though, like Quest 2, they will likely include the option to wire into a computer for a bump in processing power. Headsets that require a tether, like next year’s PS5-tethered PSVR2 or the premium-priced Valve Index, are increasingly the outliers.

Unger said the Quest 2’s standalone design is a major factor in VR continuing to gain new users. “You have a stable of games without the need to buy an expensive PC, you can hook it up to a computer, you can throw it in a backpack and take it to a friend's house—it does all of the things you need VR to do,” he said. “So you're seeing a refocusing of the industry to get their heads around what 'standalone' means. Everybody's going to be working on standalone devices from this point forward.”

Running on Qualcomm’s mobile-centric Snapdragon XR2 chip, the Quest 2 can’t compare to the sheer pixel-pushing power of a tethered VR headset. For most average users, though, that level of over-the-top performance is less important than price and ease of use.

“You don’t buy a console if you want the very best 4K graphics,” Lang said. “But you’re going to get that smooth, consumer-friendly experience. So that’s what Meta’s doing. And if we’re talking about adoption, I think they’re demonstrating 100 percent that this is the way to go—you’ve got to cut that friction down big time.”

Milk noted that his mom uses Supernatural more than he does, an anecdote he thinks serves as a strong reason to support standalone hardware as the standard. “If my 75-year-old mom and others like her are buying this headset from Best Buy, setting it up themselves and using it on a regular basis, I'd say you have a mainstream device,” he said. “It may not be so widespread that people have discovered it yet, but I think they will, and I do think that exercise will be the first killer use case for a general mainstream audience for the technology.”

Hit software