July 29, 2021 – Facebook’s virtual reality (VR) brand, Oculus, has recently announced that it will be introducing a new silicone cover for all customers globally as part of a joint voluntary recall of the Quest 2 removable foam facial interface.
According to Facebook, since the Quest 2 started shipping last year, it has been receiving reports that some users have been experiencing skin irritation issues after using the removable foam facial interface that comes with Quest 2, and that is also sold separately, including as a part of the Fit Pack.
In an update, Andrew Bosworth, Head of Facebook Reality Labs, said: “While the rate of reports is small and the majority of reported cases are minor, we’re committed to ensuring our products are safe and comfortable for everyone who uses them.”
As a result, Oculus has this week introduced the new silicone cover, which fits over the Quest 2 removable foam facial interface. The company is also working with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Health Canada for the voluntary recall. In addition, Oculus stated that it has been communicating with global regulators and is taking the extra step of temporarily pausing sales of the Quest 2 globally as it works to include the new silicone covers in all Quest 2 packages.
The issue is clearly one that concerns Facebook for it to have paused all global sales of its flagship VR device. For a device that is designed to spend hours on a user’s face and around their eyes, the fact that a key piece of the headset’s ergonomics and comfort-related design is causing some users discomfort and skin irritation is something that the company will want to firmly address for its future VR devices.
Bosworth added that the company began conducting an investigation back in December 2020 after it first heard of skin irritation issues. The investigation apparently included receiving advice from dermatologists and toxicologists, who advised that skin irritation can occur in some segments of the population from many household items, and that the rates seen with the Quest 2 are in line with expectations.
Furthermore, the company added that its investigation determined that the manufacturing process for the Quest 2 is safe, meaning that no unexpected nor hazardous contaminants were found in the device’s foam interface or manufacturing process.
When sales resume on August 24, all Quest 2 headsets will come with a silicone cover included in every box. Everyone who already owns a Quest 2 or a Fit Pack can receive a free silicone cover that fits over the Quest 2 foam facial interface. Additionally, the broader developer and partner community, as well as Oculus for Business customers will be receiving direct outreach from Oculus via email with next steps.
Finally, Oculus has announced that when the Quest 2 does go back on sale in a few weeks, the 64GB headsets will no longer be available, as the company moves to debut a new 128GB device with silicone cover included as its standard Quest 2 offering. As a bonus, the 128GB device will still cost the same as the 64GB device did – USD $299. Whether or not this is Oculus trying to soften the blow of the device recall news, or to simply to get even more people buying into its VR ecosystem is hard to say. Either way though, if you have been putting off buying the Quest 2 since last year, now could be a good time to get the 128GB device for cheaper.
For more information on the recall and to learn how to request a silicone cover, click here.
Image credit: Oculus
About the author
Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past seven years.