Facebook has announced a new member of its Oculus VR headset family and an update to the Santa Cruz prototype.
Today at its fourth developer conference in San Jose, Oculus announced its newest and most affordable VR headset, called Oculus Go. The headset’s high-resolution fast-switch LCD screen vastly improves visual clarity and reduces the so-called screen door effect, where the lines separating pixels become visible. You can already buy the Gear VR which is a similar, portable device, but you need a high-end Samsung device to operate the headset. Both headsets share the same controller, so content on the Gear VR will look identical on the Oculus Go.
There is also the divide between reality and virtual reality. If you can’t wait, Oculus Rift and Touch are now down to 9 permanently. Barra said that Oculus Go will land with day-one compatibility with the entire GearVR library, which may indicate that it will contain smartphone-level processing as opposed to something comparable to a high-end PC. What makes the Go special is the integrated spatial audio. There’s still a 3.5mm headphone jack if users want to use their own pair of headphones.
At the Oculus connecting event, the first fully-fledged VR headset gets a permanent price cut of $100, over the original $499 price tag.
Users will now be able to create art (or what Facebook refers to as Quillustrations) in their virtual space with Quill, a VR painting tool that was used to create the VR film “Dear Angelica“.
It’s not as if they’re giving up on gaming though, and the biggest software announcement of the night was that Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment are working on a secret Oculus Rift-only project. It was made possible by help from AMD and Nvidia.
Oculus has revamped the interface for Rift.
The Oculus Go is billed as simpler than the Rift, which went on sale past year, or the Vive system made by HTC Corp. “Opening up more of those experiences to more of us – that’s not isolating, that’s freeing”.
Oculus shouldn’t feel comfortable nor safe because their rival, HTC Vive, has the power to room-scale games into an interactive VR experience. It’s long before we see such a huge behavioural shift among consumers, but it is expected that people will do that in the future.
The company offered a sneak peek into Oculus Venues, a new experience coming next year that lets people watch live concerts, sports, and movie premieres with thousands of other people around the world.