During a VR developer conference in San Jose, Mark Zuckerberg—Facebook’s Chief Executive Officer—announced the release of a brand new headset named the Oculus Go.
According to Zuckerberg, in order to get at least a billion people all over the world to effectively use and understand virtual reality, the company plans to consciously work on a few aspects such as quality and affordability.
In order to achieve that goal, Facebook will make a few efforts with respect to Oculus Go. The headset, which will be shipped in the start of next year, will cost around $199.
On one hand, we have headsets such as Google Daydream View and Samsung Gear VR that need a smartphone to be able to operate. On the other hand, we have sets like Oculus Rift that require costly PCs to be able to work. Whereas, Oculus Go attempts to fit somewhere in between: it doesn’t need a smartphone to operate, nor does it require to be connected to an expensive computer.
Facebook feels that in order to expand the reach of VR to wider audiences, the need for a costly PC needs to end. In order to make it more appealing to the market, Oculus Go will incorporate improved lenses and display, an integrated audio system and a mesh fabric that is more breathable. Apart from that, the company plans to get Samsung Gear VR games and apps to Oculus Go.
Despite the overwhelming hype, consumer demand for Oculus products seems to be dull and flat. In order to counter that, Facebook has resorted to slashing prices for its Rift VR headset many a times.
At the Oculus Connect event, Mark Zuckerberg accepted that VR is yet to become a mainstream. He also added that one day VR would make world a better place by supporting empathy and job creation. However, Zuckerberg was denounced for showcasing how VR could possibly create “empathy.” He talked about a philanthropist effort to help Puerto Rico—which was recently hit by a massive hurricane. While explaining that, he used a VR app called Spaces that showed the flooded island from 360 degree view. This stunt of his was deemed inappropriate. For which, he apologised.
According to Stephanie Llamas, Vice President of Research and Strategy at market intelligence firm SuperData, VR will probably not see a spurt in its growth until 2019 or 2020. This has a lot do with the fact that the technology may not be widely accessible and very easy to use. Also, regardless of the technology, if a noteworthy growth needs to be taken place, it would not happen without a phenomenal app. Facebook had acquired Oculus, in 2014, for $2 billion.