Facebook recently released its new Oculus Go headset, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. TechRadar said the Go “marks a new era for VR,” while the Observer said it may provide the impetus that moves the technology “from niche to mainstream.”
As a virtual reality production agency, we felt it was our duty to be among the first in Canada to purchase the new headset. We’ve been working with it for a few weeks now – here are our thoughts.
The VusionVR office is home to many VR headsets, including the Samsung Gear, the Oculus Rift, and the HTC Vive. Oculus Go stands apart from these for a simple, critical reason: it is the first widely available standalone headset on the market. It isn’t powered by a pricy PC or smartphone – the processor, storage, power, and connectivity are all contained within the unit.
This is why VR enthusiasts are so bullish about the Go. Sure, the built-in computing hardware makes the headset a bit heavy and slightly uncomfortable for extended use – Google Daydream, for example, provides a snugger fit – but this is a reasonable trade off for wireless capability. The Go is simple to set-up and easy to use. Anyone who’s spent time in VR will have no problem searching and finding content – and there’s plenty of content available – and even first-time users will find the interface intuitive. Finally, the battery-charged handheld controller that comes with the Go makes navigation easy.
The quality of the experiences in the Go is impressive, too. They don’t quite measure up to experiences in the Rift or Vive, but that’s to be expected in a standalone VR headset. The Go still delivers crisp, smooth visuals and an indisputable feeling of immersion, and the small speakers built into the head straps allow users to experience 360° audio without headphones.
So, will the Oculus Go usher in a new era of mainstream VR adoption? That’s hard to say. At $269 CAD, the Go certainly makes sense for the offices of a virtual reality production agency and is affordable enough for tech-inclined consumers to take the leap. TechRadar is correct in saying that the Go marks a new era for virtual reality. Ever since Oculus released the original Rift, VR enthusiasts have been clamoring for an affordable standalone headset that delivers high-quality immersive experiences, so even if Facebook can’t frame the Go as an essential home entertainment component, the headset’s format is a clear winner for the future of VR. As more standalone headsets enter the market and prices gradually decline, expect the mainstream adoption of VR to creep forward.
As a virtual reality production agency, we couldn’t be more excited about the potential of wireless VR. The Go is the first entry into this market, but it certainly won’t be the last.
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