Facebook is into developing a new VR headset as part of the Oculus range which would be targeted at the more affordable segment. The headset will reportedly be priced around $200 and will hit streets sometime around 2018. The headset though would be formally launched some time later this year itself.
Apart from the pricing, another unique quality of the upcoming Oculus headset will be that it won’t require tethering to a PC or a smartphone for its operation, Bloomberg reported. In fact, launching a wireless VR headset that is able to operate on its own while still being affordable enough has been one of the stated goals of both Facebook and Oculus.
This forms what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had earlier described as the mid-point category where the new Oculus headset would be placed somewhere in-between the entry level headsets that requires a phone for its operations – such as the Samsung Gear VR – or the high-end headsets such as the HTC Vive that require connecting to a powerful PC for it to operate to its optimum.
The upcoming Oculus headset is code-named ‘Pacific’ and will be lighter than the Gear VR headset from Samsung. It will also be more compact than the Rift. The target of course is to make VR headset more sophisticated and sleek, with none of the bulk that most of the current gen headset have come to be perceived as.
Companies have been struggling to bring VR to the mainstream and things are likely to be adopted en-masse only when there are enough headsets in the affordable price range. Oculus already has the Rift to offer which is priced $399, complete with the Touch controllers.
Samsung too is reported to be developing its own standalone headset, one that is touted to carry the ‘Odyssey’ brand name. Similarly, a wireless version of the Rift is also likely in the making, without sacrificing on performance as when tethered to a PC.
When launched, the new headset would form part of the Oculus range everywhere in the world where it is sold. However, the same device would carry the Xiaomi branding in China as part of the arrangement Oculus has with respect to the manufacture of the device in Xiaomi’s facilities in China.