With tech giants like Samsung, Sony, HTC, and others investing more into expensive virtual reality (VR) hardware, Facebook announced its plan to unveil a ‘cheaper’ standalone VR headset later this year.
In a report from Bloomberg, Facebook Inc., who acquired Oculus VR in March 2014, is raising its game by turning its Oculus Rift virtual reality headset into a mass-market phenomenon. The new VR device will be cheaper and will have a shipping date sometime next year. A spokesperson from Oculus said:
“We don’t have a product to unveil at this time, however we can confirm that we’re making several significant technology investments in the standalone VR category. This is in addition to our commitment to high-end VR products like Oculus Rift and mobile phone products like Gear VR.”#Facebook set to unveil a cheaper, wireless #Oculus in 2018! I need one!Click To Tweet
Currently, VR hardware is available in two categories based on price: the cheap headset and the high-end gaming rigs.
Cheap headsets like the Samsung Gear VR, Google Daydream View, LG 360 VR, and Homido range from $50 up to $130 per unit. On the other hand, high-end VR headsets like the HTC Vive, Sony PlayStation VR, and Facebook’s Oculus Rift, cost around $350 USD up to $800 USD per. Headsets from both categories have to be tethered to a PC or laptop to work.
With great consideration towards two factors, price and convenience, Facebook’s forthcoming standalone VR headset will be designed to work without being tethered to a PC or phone and would be available at a much lower price of $200 USD.
Imagine owning a quality VR system for two-hundred bucks!
The new device will carry the Oculus branding around the world except in China where it will take the Xiaomi brand–this being a part of a planned partnership that extends to the manufacturing of the device.
What to Expect From Facebook’s Standalone VR Headset
The new device being developed by Facebook, which goes by the codename ‘Pacific,’ was said to be a lot like the Rift regarding design but will be a lot lighter than headsets like the Samsung Gear VR.
Reports also claimed that Qualcomm‘s Snapdragon chipset would power the headset. ‘Pacific’ will have better graphics capabilities than Gear VR, but it will not have the positional tracking feature found in Oculus Rift.
However, the device’s design and features are yet to be finalized. By October this year, Facebook plans to begin briefing content makers, like video game designers, on the device so that the product’s application store could launch with high-quality, compatible games.
During a 2016 conference in San Jose, California, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced his willingness to invest around $250 million USD in companies and developers to create yet-to-be-seen compelling virtual reality content including movies and games. Apparently, Zuckerberg still has firm plans to integrate virtual reality into our latest technologies.
The virtual reality is still a struggling industry to date. Facebook’s plans of creating a more affordable, standalone headgear can pave the way for VR to attract more consumers.