Two weeks ago saw the fourth edition of the Oculus Connect event for the Facebook-owned virtual reality company. It’s here that Oculus announces its latest products and developments that for 2017 included a stand-alone headset that required neither a PC to connect to or a phone to power it. Is this the biggest news to come from the world of virtual reality since the original Oculus Rift Kickstarter campaign?
At the previous Oculus Connect event we were there to see the latest developments first hand. Held in San Jose, it attracts the cream of the VR development community and press to hear a series of keynotes and panels from the Oculus hierarchy and those using the platform. However, this time around we are back home in Liverpool rather than sunning it up in Silicon Valley. Ho hum.
So what’s the Oculus Go like? Very much like a Samsung Gear VR. In fact, it’s so very much like a Samsung Gear VR that it features cross-compatibility with Gear VR content. Although there are only a handful of standout titles for Samsung’s mobile VR platform, it’s still a decent selection to start with.
As for the design, it’s so sleek and clean – it almost looks unfinished! There’s even speakers in there, but you will struggle to spot them. Like Google’s Daydream, it’s a breathable cotton material – it’s certainly a compelling piece of kit.
For developers it allows us an extra opportunity to publish a title to more than one platform with little or no extra effort required. There are already over five million Gear VR headsets out in the wild, putting the platform ahead of the Nintendo Switch in this regard. For now.
However, it still remains to be seen just how successful this mid-level VR will be – and there’s the chance that Oculus have already made the Go obsolete before the fourth Oculus Connect event had concluded. Why? Because they unveiled a new version of their Santa Cruz prototype – almost the same as the Oculus Go, but boasting built in cameras.
This ‘inside-out’ tracking allows the users movements to be tracked relative to their environment. Think of the external sensors the Rift or HTC’s Vive uses except mounted to the headset. This will give the Santa Cruz a crucial advantage over the Go and may cause many users to hold fire on purchasing the latter when it goes on sale in 2018 for around $200.
Aside from that there were some nifty new UI developments and a new bundle price for the Oculus Rift. But come on, where are the innovative pricing strategies? If Volvo can let me subscribe instead of owning a car why can’t we offer the expensive PC and headset combination in a way that removes the scary large payments? If you could rent a £1000 VCR in 1982 then you should be able to do the same with VR kit today! Maybe that will come at OC5?
As far as content is concerned Facebook Spaces is one you can be excited to play, vivid virtual experiences with your friends from across the country – pre packed Google Earth like experiences on stunning beaches for you to be amazed at.
With the Go VR experience you’re not getting essentially a cardboard or plastic box smart phone holder, you are getting a dedicated VR device with built in speakers to fully immerse you into your virtual experience. Without needing a powerful VR ready PC the Oculus Go currently offers the best medium to high end VR that doesn’t cost over the odds.
It’s so sleek and clean – it almost looks unfinished! There’s even speakers in there, but you will struggle to spot them. Like Google’s Daydream, it’s a breathable cotton material – it’s certainly a compelling piece of kit.
The Oculus Go VR packs a powerful punch, boasting a resolution of 2560 x 1440 px which is equal to Quad High Definition (QHD) of super screens. These powerful vr headset lenses remove the common screen door effect, an eye effect that reveals small imperfections between separate pixels when viewing virtual content.
Overall I think Oculus Go VR is a great prospect for the VR industry, many consumers find that the headsets with the worthwhile gaming content are too expensive. At an affordable price point that offers more than Gear VR and close to the Oculus Rift for just $199.
Impressively the VR kit is fitted with a new optical lense design and offers the same field of view as the higher end Oculus Rift headset – it’s also been quoted as having better definition than a OLED screen.