Facebook unveiled a new virtual reality headset called the Oculus Go, that does not require linking to a smartphone or a PC, like its predecessor Oculus Rift or its competitor HTC’s Vive do.
On Wednesday, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, addressing the annual Oculus Connect conference, announced that the Oculus Go headset would cost $199 and ship in the start of 2018.
“I am more committed than ever to the future of virtual reality”, said Mr. Zuckerberg.
“This all-in-one device makes VR more accessible than ever and represents a huge leap forward in comfort, visual clarity and ease-of-use” added Oculus in a blog post.
This latest VR headset comes with a “high resolution fast switch LCD screen” along with some “next generation lenses” providing a wide field of view. The lenses come with significantly “reduced glare”.
For spatial audio, speakers are built in the headset. A 3.5 mm headphone jack is also present for private listening.
The Oculus Go is much cheaper than the Rift that was sold for $599 last year and required a powerful computer to power it.
“I think you’re going to see these a lot on airplanes because it’s way better than the back-of-the-seat monitor or my phone”, said Mike Chreopfer, Facebook’s technology officer.
Mr. Chreopfer further said that the” Oculus Go” is aimed at those people who do not own Samsung phones.
Oculus and Samsung already sell a device called Gear VR, that pairs with certain high-priced Samsung smartphones and works just like the Oculus Go.
According to Oculus, the Oculus Go and the Gear VR are “binary compatible”. As both of these share the same “controller input set”. This similarity favors Facebook, as it will help the company to push its library of VR-ready content at launch with the help of existing content that runs on Gear VR.
“The Oculus Go has potential to be a huge driver of growth if people like the titles and apps on it”, said Stephanie Llamas, vice president of research at Super Data.
Zuckerberg promised that the Oculus Go would be “the most accessible VR experience ever”
According to reports, Google is also working on a headset that won’t require a smartphone, but the company has not yet revealed its date of launch or price. Currently, Google owns a VR headset called Google Daydream View, that requires a phone to function.