In what could be seen as a real gift of innovation for Virtual Reality lovers from the house of Facebook, the social media networking giant will soon launch a new virtual reality headset that won’t require a separate computer to operate.
Taking the podium at a conference for virtual reality developers in America, Facebook’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said the new headset, which is called Oculus Go, will allow more mobile uses than the company’s existing Oculus Rift product.
Priced at $199, Oculus Go will be shipped early next year, too late for this year’s holiday season but likely to stay ahead of rivals.
The new product is being pitched much simpler that Facebook’s Rift, which went live last year, or even the Vive system made by HTC Corp. Both of those headsets require the help of desktop computers to function.
According to Super Data research, HTC is expected to ship 305,000 Vive systems this year, while Facebook is expected to ship 213,000 Rift systems.
Talking about Oculus Go in an interview, Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s chief technology officer said, “The Oculus Go has potential to be a huge driver of growth” for the company.
He further added, “I think you’re going to see these a lot on airplanes, because it’s way better than the back-of-the-seat monitor or my phone.”
Schroepfer also revealed that Oculus Go is especially meant for people who do not own a Samsung smartphone. Oculus and Samsung Electronics already sell the Gear VR, which when paired with certain Samsung smartphones is similar to Oculus Go.
Taking into account the new entry in the market, Facebook has also decided to permanently reduce the price of the Rift system to $399 from $499.
Facebook bought Palmer Freeman Luckey’s Oculus VR for a whopping $2 billion in 2014.
Back then, Mark Zuckerberg explained that he decided to buy the 21 year old’s company as he saw Oculus Rift something far grander than a mere entertainment device. He wrote at that time, “Imagine enjoying a court-side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face—just by putting on goggles in your home.”
For the uninitiated, Virtual reality is currently one of the hottest talks of the town. The technology, which has the potential of becoming a major aspect of future technology, offers its users a three-dimensional, computer generated environment which can be explored and interacted with by the person. The person becomes a part of this virtual world or is immersed within this environment for a brief period of time and, is able to manipulate objects or perform a series of actions whilst there.
Seeing the attention Virtual reality is garnering all around the world, a number of companies have invested their time and money in the technology and Facebook is one of the front runners in the race.
Besides slashing prices and introducing new VR products, Facebook is also currently developing a software called Facebook Spaces, which will allow friends to meet in virtual rooms. The company also plans on integrating live video soon with the software.
This development was first reported by Reuters.