Oculus is releasing a wireless VR headset in 2018 for about $200

Cal Jeffrey

TS Evangelist
Staff member

Facebook is planning to launch a standalone wireless Oculus VR device in 2018. The headset, code-named Pacific, will be similar to headsets like Samsung's Gear VR and Google's Daydream View but will not need a phone. It will be an all-inclusive device powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip. At a planned price point of $200, it will be slightly more expensive than the Gear VR, which retails for $130.

The device will lack positional tracking, which is the main disadvantage with wireless VR units. However, Oculus is also working on a wireless prototype code-named Santa Cruz, which will not only provide tracking using onboard cameras, it will also be as powerful as the Rift, but without the need for an external computer. Although it is still in early development, Oculus plan is to have it capable of streaming VR content from the cloud.

I wouldn’t mind owning a wireless version of the Rift, especially since Facebook slashed the price to $399. The main reason I haven’t sprung for one is that one tangled cord or an overly excited head bob is likely to send my whole setup crashing to the floor.

Aside from the total cost of a VR setup, I think this is what is holding back the adoption of powerful VR units like the Rift, and the evidence seems to indicate as much. IDC reports that only one-third of the 2.3 million VR headsets shipped in the first quarter of 2017 were tethered VR headsets, such as the Vive, Rift, and the PlayStation VR. The lower price and the untethered freedom of smartphone powered units are naturally preferred.

“We can confirm we’re making several significant technology Investments in the standalone VR category,” Oculus spokesman Alan Cooper told Bloomberg. “This is the kind of thing that we believe will exist.”

Devices like the Pacific and Santa Cruz are steps in the right direction in tapping the full potential of the VR market. Facebook is betting that the lack of affordable standalone VR is what's hampering the mass adoption they were hoping for when acquiring Oculus. So it should come as no surprise that other companies like HTC, Lenovo and Samsung are racing to develop standalone VR.

Facebook is briefing content creators on the Pacific in October and hope to have compatible games and apps lined up for the its launch in 2018. Oculus is also rewriting the download store, so that it is natively accessible from the device.

Permalink to story.

 

Puiu

TS Evangelist
It's not exactly "wireless" if it's a standalone product. I just want a proper wireless VR headset for PC that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. I'm not interested in mobile VR.
 

ikesmasher

TS Evangelist
Cloud streaming, if done properly, could be the biggest thing to bring VR into a mainstream audience. Latency would be a major issue (as it already is) to overcome though.
 

Evernessince

TS Evangelist
Cloud streaming, if done properly, could be the biggest thing to bring VR into a mainstream audience. Latency would be a major issue (as it already is) to overcome though.
You aren't kidding. Taking one of the most latency sensitive technologies and running it over the internet sounds like a recipe for disaster. This might work in high tech countries with fast internet speeds but not in the US.
 

Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
At $200 you've hit my personal price barrier .... now I'll just have to wait for it to show up so I can take a look see at it .....
 

Evernessince

TS Evangelist
$200 for a lower end version of the Oculus doesn't sound that appealing and it's missing features that will give people that "wow I have to have this" impression.

IMO VR need these things to succeed in the consumer space

1. Either no wires running down your back or make them so you don't know they are there.
2. Seemless tracking anywhere without setup/minimal setup. The Vive is the only HMD that does have room scale but dedicating a large space just to VR is cumbersome and setup each time you want to change the room is a pain. The Oculus doesn't even have room scale which is a shame because it is awesome. None of these compare to where VR needs to be, which would be the sensors integrated into the headset with minimal play area setup required.
3. Prices need to be around $350 or less for a system that requires a computer as well. They should also be able to sell lower end models for even less not including either the room scale or touch controllers.

It's also possible that businesses pick up AR, and I can see that being very useful for many jobs. A warehouse worker could easily benefit from having the customer's order right in front of their fact at all times and the HMD could use 3D cameras to help find that order as well.