Shipping "early next year," also teases wireless "Santa Cruz" headsets.
SAN JOSE, Calif.—On stage at the Oculus Connect 4 conference, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg took the wraps off of Oculus Go, the company's first "sweet spot" standalone headset. Zuckerberg announced it would launch "early next year" at a price of $199.
The announcement followed Zuckerberg's statement that Oculus wants to get one billion people using its virtual reality products. (Yes, that was a B, as in boy.) He admitted how lofty that goal is, saying, "If we're going to get a billion people in VR, we have to work on both affordability and quality. We have to find the sweet spot in the middle. The high quality experience that doesn't tether anybody to a PC."
Oculus Go was first announced with an image, price point, and vague release window shown behind Zuckerberg on stage. More details soon followed courtesy of Oculus "head of VR" Hugo Barra, including images of a new controller, a "breathable mesh fabric" fit, "significantly reduced [lens] glare," and, perhaps most telling, a switch from an OLED panel to a "fast-switch LCD" one. 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.
In addition, Zuckerberg announced that Oculus' "Santa Cruz" headset, which offers inside-out headset tracking and "six degrees of freedom" hand controllers, will finally be available to Oculus developers "this year" and will be available to test on the Oculus Connect 4 show floor later today. He said that this will be the first time anyone has ever shown a complete experience of both a standalone headset and fully tracked controllers.
What's more, the Santa Cruz system will include an updated pair of "Santa Cruz controllers," which combine the design and fit of the current Oculus Touch controllers with a giant, thumb-friendly trackpad—meaning, Oculus Touch and SteamVR games will soon be controllable almost identically. The Santa Cruz headset has been updated with more tracking sensors on its front face, though we have to take Oculus' word for it about how much that improves the device's tracking, since it hasn't really been demonstrated all that often in public just yet.
Barra also announced business-specific initiatives, including a new "Oculus for Business" purchase plan that bundles more Oculus Rift and Touch hardware for the sake of business development.
Additionally, Oculus Rift's "temporary" price drop to $399, for a bundle that includes Oculus Touch controllers, has now been announced as a permanent drop, effective immediately.