Facebook is set to release a standalone Oculus virtual reality headset that will hit the shelves sometime in 2018. That is what a Bloomberg report, published on Thursday, has stated.
The headset will be branded with the Oculus name worldwide, except in China where it will be distributed under Xiaomi’s brand. The headset will not require a tethered PC or a smartphone to operate.
Facebook has been reportedly interested in unleashing a virtual reality headset that fills the gap between the entry-level models and the high-end devices worth hundreds of dollars. The Oculus headset is said to strike a happy medium between reasonable price and great performance. The retail price of $200 is expected to attract customers who cannot afford the Rift model.
Currently, the virtual reality hardware is divided into two large categories- relatively inexpensive headsets that turn smartphones into virtual reality devices, and premium-class headsets, compatible with twice as expensive PCs.
The upcoming Oculus device has the code name “Pacific”. As for the design, it will bear resemblance to the Rift model. The new VR headset will be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chip, which has better graphic capabilities as compared to Samsung’s Gear VR. However, the new VR headset will be devoid of the positional tracking technology available at the Rift.
Oculus will not discontinue its support for Rift and the Gear VR partnership with Samsung in an attempt to adopt multiple approaches towards reaching customers with different needs and budgets.
According to people familiar with the matter, a wireless version of the Rift is also in the works, but its development is still at an early stage.
Although the design and features of the new VR device have not been finalized yet, developers said that their main objective was to enable users to carry the headset wherever they go. They also emphasized that the user-friendly controls and interface would make the difference between a virtual reality headset and a standard smartphone negligible.
The new VR headset will not be available for the upcoming shopping season, which means Facebook gives its rivals a chance to hit the market first. Nevertheless, the appealing $200 price tag may put the beginning of a new era in VR headsets development and their utilization in e-sports.