Facebook gets real about broadening virtual reality's appeal

Facebook gets real about broadening virtual reality's appeal

Facebook gets real about broadening virtual reality's appeal

Also, this isn't simply just a vessel for your smartphones like Samsung's Gear VR or Zeiss VR One Plus; this is a unit that can work on its own. It's a burgeoning market right now: past year, just about every VR headset required a connection to a powerful computer, or used a smartphone for its processing power.

That accessibility is where Oculus Go comes in.

Zuckerberg said that the new headset fits in the "sweet spot" between the Rift and other portable, smartphone-powered VR headsets. It's also less expensive than the Windows Mixed Reality headsets, which only showed their faces relatively recently, and much less than HTC Vive.

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Facebook already has one headset, called Oculus Rift. Compared to the Oculus Rift, which costs about $600, the Oculus Go is undeniably cheap. However, Oculus says the "fast-switch" technology used in this LCD makes it suitable for virtual reality. This provides the user with optimal comfort while enjoying VR content. It may not be so easy.

Will Mark Zuckerberg reach his ambitious goal of getting "1 billion people in virtual reality"? Recent discounts lowered the Rift's price to $399 at various times during the summer, a markdown Oculus now says will be permanent. Widespread release will likely lag behind by a year or more, judging from the gaps between the release of the Oculus Rift DK1 in March 2013, the DK2 in July 2014, and the retail Rift headset in May 2015. It's also promising that its new lenses offer "a wide field of view with significantly reduced glare".

This all should equal sharper visuals on Go, but of what, exactly? "My goal here was to show how VR can raise awareness and help us see what's happening in different parts of the world", he said, adding that he meant to publicize a partnership with the Red Cross where Facebook helps create population maps that can be used by rescue workers. So today it launched "Oculus For Business" which lets companies buy Oculus bundles in bulk with enterprise-grade warranties, get a full VR commercial license, and access dedicated customer support. It lacks inside-out tracking, which allows a VR headset to monitor its position in a room.

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