By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
When Facebook announced the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset, many suffered not only from the sticker shock of its nearly $400 price tag, but also that users would likely have to upgrade your computer system to use it. Mobile based virtual reality platforms were far cheaper, and could give the same experience. But that’s also meant buying a dedicated smartphone to support it. So, Oculus has shifted some of its focus and is rumored to be ready to launch a $200 stand alone Oculus VR headset later this Spring. And it doesn’t need anything else to enjoy the ride.
Based on its stand alone development prototype, Project Santa Cruz, the Oculus Go will be a self contained virtual reality device that will not need a computer, nor a smartphone to drive it. It’s technology comes from a partnership that Oculus had with Samsung, which provided the Gear VR with Oculus virtual reality technology, and Facebook appears to have gotten the software and content which includes access to VR games, 360 degree video experiences, as well as VR apps for Hulu, Netflix and HBO.
Oculus Go is being built in partnership with Chinese electronics giant Xiaomi, and will be powered by an older version of the high-end Snapdragon 821 SoC from Qualcomm with support for 3DoF, and connects via WiFi. The device will start at $199 for 32GB of on board storage, with plans for a 64GB device for a higher price.
According to Variety, the Oculus Go will be announced at the f8 developer conference on May 1st, and Facebook’s VP of AR&VR says that it will be “the biggest VR news from Facebook to date.” Then, analysts are expecting the Oc Go to go on sale in October, just in time for the holiday season. However, Facebook had trouble shipping the original Rift headset on time, and their Touch controllers were delayed due to a component shortage which caused many VR game developers to delay release until it finally became available a year and a half later. The point is, while October is the target launch date, I wouldn’t expect Santa to put one in your stocking until you actually see the bulge on Christmas Day.
Additionally, to get the price down to under $200, Oculus had to make some sacrifices. Gone are the optional tracking technology and the 3D sound headphones, both of which enabled Rift users to be completely immersive. I’m also betting that the Oculus Touch controllers may probably be an optional accessory, though product shots show at least one included.
Consequently, it sounds like the Oc Go will have the ability to sense when the headset is moving to look around, but it won’t be able to “lean in” or interact with the experience you’re having. And even if the Touch controllers are supported, I’m guessing the user will have limited ability to move around within the virtual space. So if you’re hoping for that Ready Player One experience, that’s probably a bit far off, at least at this price point.
Hat Tip – VR360Filmmaker