VR will make a big stride towards the mainstream in 2018 when Oculus releases a $200 standalone VR headset.
That’s according to Bloomberg, which says that the new headset is designed to bridge the gap between cheaper entry-level smartphone based VR and high-end headsets that plug into PCs. Not only will the new device be comparatively cheap, but it will also be wireless and can operate without the need for any additional hardware.
Apparently, it is being developed under the codename ‘Pacific’. It is described as being like a compact version of the Rift, and also lighter than the Samsung Gear VR. The pitch is that users, for instance, will be able to pop it on when on a flight and watch movies.
It is said to use a wireless remote not dissimilar to the one included in the newer version of the Samsung headset. Crucially, the site believes that it is ‘basically a wireless Rift’, boasting ‘the full power of the original device sans PC’. The new headset will be powered by a single Snapdragon mobile chip.
The caveat to this is that it will not include any sort of in-built positional tracking. Not that the Rift does, although Oculus’ high-end headset can connect to sensors to offer room tracking. A later version of Oculus’ new hardware will offer tracking, it is claimed.
Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi is rumoured to be the lead manufacturer. And while the new headset will carry Oculus branding all around the world, in China it will be marketed as a Xiaomi device. Bloomberg added that former Xiaomi exec Hugo Barra was recently installed as Oculus’ VR boss.
Content makers, meanwhile, are expected to be briefed in October.
Oculus’ official reply does not confirm or deny the reports: We don’t have a product to unveil at this time, however we can confirm we’re making several significant technology investments in the standalone VR category.”