Facebook’s Oculus to make a VR end-run with $200 dedicated standalone headset

Microsoft plans to invade the VR space with a slew of tethered mixed reality headsets this Christmas priced at between $200 and $400. Oculus is however not ready to give up the VR mindshare leadership, and according to a new report from Bloomberg is planning a major fight back in 2018.

Bloomberg reports the company is planning to release a low-cost dedicated VR headset, code-names Pacific, using phone-like hardware, including Snapdragon processors, and compatible with their current range of VR software, offering immersive gaming, the ability to watch videos and social networking. The new headset will have a similar interface to Samsung’s VR Gear and can be controlled by a wireless remote.

The headsets would not need any additional phone or tablet, making the device lighter, more comfortable and extremely convenient for simply pulling out and watching a movie on a flight for example.

The dedicated device is expected to hit a price point as low as $200, with Oculus expecting it to create a whole new mass market for VR.  It will however not feature inside-out tracking, with this feature expected to come in a later version.

Facebook also said it’s working on a prototype device code-named Santa Cruz that’s basically a wireless Oculus Rift, with the full power of the original device sans PC.

Till now good VR has been inextricably linked with powerful PC hardware, but Oculus ‘s spokesman Alan Cooper confirmed “… we’re making several significant technology investments in the standalone VR category.”

Facebook is expected to seed the technology to developers starting October, with the aim of filling up the store with compatible games, with the hardware only expected to hit the market in 2018 however.  The $200 price point and Oculus’s reputation among developers are however expected to give the gadget an edge with consumers.

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