Facebook is back with a bang. Rather this time it’s back with a new set of virtual reality headset that does not require a separate computer to operate, enabling more mobile usages than the company’s existing Oculus Rift product.
In a recent conference, a speech by Facebook’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg stated that for the virtual reality developers, this device i.e. ‘Oculus Go’ would cost $ 199 or ₹ 13,000 roughly and would be shipped early next year, much ahead of its rivals.
This is quite an enterprising investment of Facebook in virtual reality with the hopes that this technology, known for offering a 360-degree panoramic view of faraway or imaginary spaces, will shift away from a mere niche interest to a widely popular platform for gaming, communications, and business applications.
A bit flashback over witnesses that back in 2014, Facebook has paid $3 billion to acquire Oculus and retain its employees. Further, this Oculus Go is billed as simpler than the Rift, which went on sale last year, or the Vive system made by HTC Corp. Both of these had the requirement of desktop computers to operate. To this, Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s chief technology officer, stated that “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”. Also, he added that this device mainly focuses people who do not possess Samsung smartphones. Oculus and Samsung Electronics had already sold a device termed as Gear VR, which, if paired with Samsung phones, works similar to Oculus Go.
This latest innovation also has a rival headset Google Daydream, offered by Alphabet, that works better with a number of smartphones.
According to an email by Stephanie Llamas, vice president of research at Super Data, “The Oculus Go has potential to be a huge driver of growth”.
Facebook is further expected to ship 213,000 Rift systems this year, while HTC is expected to ship 305,000 Vive systems, according to Super Data research.
Beyond price cuts and new products, Facebook is also trying different ways to attract people to the virtual-reality medium.
Lastly, the company also takes the credit in developing another new software Facebook Spaces that enables the friends to meet in virtual rooms and will also integrate live video soon. Regarding this, the company stated that it was releasing technology to create better, customised facial images, or avatars, and would soon add the ability to use playing cards in Facebook Spaces, in addition to the dice it already obtains.