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Facebook’s $199 Oculus Go is exactly what the VR industry needed right now

Facebook’s standalone Oculus Go VR headset does away with the hassle of plugging in a smartphone or a cord to PC. Can the Oculus Go give the much-needed push to the VR industry?

tech Updated: Oct 12, 2017 11:14 IST
Kul Bhushan
Kul Bhushan
Hindustan Times
Oculus Go,Facebook,Virtual Reality
Facebook-owned Oculus Go takes on Samsung Gear VR and Google DayDream View.(Oculus)

Virtual Reality (VR), largely believed to be the next big platform for computing, has been stagnating. Dependence between technology providers and steep price points has meant that VR is yet to take off. Facebook, which owns VR maker Oculus, is now finally addressing these two obstacles with the new Oculus Go headset.

Unveiling it during Oculus’s annual conference in San Jose on Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg described the Oculus Go as the “all-in-one” and “accessible” VR headset ever. The Oculus Go is a standalone VR headset, which means it does not require additional devices to function, like the Samsung Gear VR.

The device is priced at $199 (Rs 12,960 approximately), making it one of the most affordable headsets from the Oculus portfolio. The Oculus Go, however, is still more expensive than the Samsung Gear VR and Google’s DayDream View, which are priced at $129 and $99.

While Oculus Go retains the look and feel of the original Oculus Rift, it is touted to be a more compact version, and is lighter and more comfortable to wear for users. The device features same lenses as on the Rift and is bundled with a small controller that is similar to one available for Gear VR. It comes with a WQHD LCD display and built-in audio drivers.

Facebook hasn’t disclosed full specifications, including battery life, of the Oculus Go yet. The device will ship to consumers in 2018 while the developer kit will be available starting next month.

The Oculus Go is expected to revive interest in building low-cost premium VR headsets. Tech giants like Samsung, Google and Microsoft are betting big on the VR industry. However, the “standalone” along with “affordability” are going to give an extra edge to Facebook in a industry still at a nascent stage.

According to a report by research firm Gartner, about 16 million head-mounted display devices were shipped last year. The number is expected to shoot up to 22 million by end of this year. According to a separate study by WSJ, the VR headset sales are estimated to amount to $21 billion annually by 2020. As many as 500 million annual sales of VR headsets are expected by 2025.

First Published: Oct 12, 2017 11:09 IST