How long should you play Oculus Quest 2? The short answer is two hours or less.
But if you’d like a more detailed answer or just want to stick around to support the site, then we have at least 1,000 words here for you, since Google prefers longer text content. It’s a whole thing and it’s kind of ruining the only publishing space. But hey, let’s get started.
If you’re new to VR or you’re currently considering purchasing the Oculus Quest 2/Meta Quest 2, then you might be wondering what the actual limits of VR are. Don’t try to say that sentence out loud, it’s not my best.
The Quest 2 is still the most affordable VR headset on the market, despite its recent substantial and unprecedented price hike.
It’s an especially great choice for anyone who wants to try out VR for the first time. It’s also a good option for anyone who doesn’t have $1,000 to blow on Valve’s high-end headset, which also requires a bunch more gear and a beefy PC to run it off of.
But VR safety is important, and overall playtime is a big part of that. We also have to account for the fact that different people will have different responses to VR entertainment. After all, VR is built on the process of tricking your brain into thinking you’re somewhere else, and it can very easily strain your eyes and/or give you a headache.
We’d like to talk about a few different factors to consider when limiting your VR play time.
Probably one of the most obvious things to consider is the intensity of the game you want to play for an extended period of time.
Even if you’re generally comfortable in VR, an especially intense game can make you uncomfortable faster than you can say, ‘Wow, it’s so immersive!’
There are quite a few horror games available for the Quest 2, including the excellent VR version of Resident Evil 4. When we say that these are intense, we mean it. Even for horror game veterans, nothing can quite compare to feeling like you’re actually there in the game world, dodging zombies and cultists. It’s genuinely unsettling.
That’s a big part of the fun, but it also makes it difficult to play for more than twenty minutes at a time.
In contrast, playing something much more mellow, like a minigolf game, won’t tax your senses nearly as much.
Maybe the single biggest limiting factor to a play session on your Quest 2 is the device’s battery life, especially in relation to whatever you’re playing.
The Quest 2 is a self-contained system, meaning all the necessary hardware is inside the headset (except for the controllers of course), and that means the battery is under a lot of strain at basically all times, even when you’re just sitting in one of the lovely home environments.
On a good day, the Quest 2’s battery life is between two and three hours. In general, we don’t think that you should play for more than two hours at a time. And to be honest, in our own play sessions with the Quest 2, it’s pretty rare to play for much more than an hour and a half before you start getting low battery warnings, especially if you’re playing something that’s more visually impressive.
The big exception here is that you can technically play for quite a while longer if you’re willing to keep the headset connected to a charger the whole time, though this makes for a pretty uncomfortable play experience with most games.
If you’re worried about playing for too long in a single session, then simply let the battery be your guide. When it starts to fail, take that as your cue to save and quit. Easy.
Your Poor, Poor Eyes
Your poor eyeballs already have to put up with so much. From dawn ‘til dusk, they have to stay open more or less at all times and look at all kinds of screens, which can potentially be damaging over time.
A VR headset is really just two screens in a box, set very, very close to your eyes. And in VR, your eyes have to work overtime to guess at distances that aren’t actually there and focus on various virtual objects.
It’s hard work, and subjecting your eyes to this workout for extended periods can definitely be uncomfortable, and there are potentially risks to your general vision as well.
If you notice that your eyes are starting to strain or if you suddenly have a headache, it’s time to take a break.
The Transition Back to ‘Real Life’
Obviously, one of the most fascinating aspects of virtual reality, in general, is the overall sense of immersion. Yes, it really does make you feel like you’re somewhere else. That’s great, and it opens up all kinds of creative and practical opportunities.
But of course there’s a downside, too. In addition to everything else we’ve talked about in this article, longer play sessions can also make for a strange experience when you’re ready to come back to real life.
This is something that we’ve experienced firsthand when playing RE 4 on the Quest 2. As we talked about already, it’s an intense experience, to say the least, and the world of the game looks very different to the real world, especially since the graphics are pretty old at this point.
Removing ourselves from an intense zombie-killing experience to suddenly ‘wake up’ in our home is a major transition, and in fact, we don’t recommend going right from a game to real life.
Instead, we recommend closing whatever game you’re playing (after saving, of course) and staying in the Quest 2 home environment of your choice for a few minutes. These home environments are comfortable and calming by design, and they give you a great chance to rest a bit and come down from the intensity of whatever you’ve been playing.
The longer the play session, the more difficult it is to transition back to real life. We’re not talking about a dystopian Matrix-style future here. It’s really not that bad. But it’s still significant, and it can potentially be uncomfortable.
So take it easy, listen to your body, and take breaks when you need to.
Note: the included images are not of the Quest 2. I just thought they were funny.