Oculus is announcing a new standalone VR headset that will sit in the middle of its lineup between the mobile Gear VR and high-end Oculus Rift, called Oculus Go. Oculus Go will ship early next year for $199, not too much more than the $129 Gear VR and significantly less than the $499 Rift. It’s supposed to enable everyday uses of VR without the trouble of plugging in a phone or computer, at an affordable price point. Mark Zuckerberg announced the news at this year’s Oculus Connect conference, saying it’s a way to reach his next goal for Oculus: getting one billion people in VR.
The Go headset was rumored ahead of Oculus Connect, and it’s not a commercial version of the Santa Cruz self-contained headset prototype that was announced last year. It doesn’t have inside-out tracking or fully tracked motion controllers, which helps keep the price down. Santa Cruz is still a separate, extant prototype with both of those features, and it’s supposed to be going out to developers within the next year.
Oculus head Hugo Barra calls Go “hands-down the easiest way to get into VR.” Among other things, it has new lenses and spatial audio built into the headset, which can be used without headphones. It uses a controller that’s similar to the Gear VR’s remote, so developers are supposed to be able to easily build for Oculus Go and the Gear VR at the same time. Developers will start getting Oculus Go development kits in November.