Can the $200 Oculus Go make virtual reality mainstream?

Facebook wants to take virtual reality mainstream, and it hopes its new headset, Oculus Go, could be the product that...

Posted: May 1, 2018 6:35 PM
Updated: May 1, 2018 6:35 PM

Facebook wants to take virtual reality mainstream, and it hopes its new headset, Oculus Go, could be the product that helps makes that happen.

The Oculus Go is Facebook's first standalone headset. It's sleek, it's comfortable, and, most importantly, it costs just $200. Most VR systems cost at least $500.

The standalone device makes for a more seamless experience than the flagship Oculus Rift or other high-end VR systems. It doesn't need cords, an expensive PC or a specific smartphone.

The headset is made of a breathable mesh fabric, has a vibrant display and built-in speakers, so you don't have to use headphones.

It even comes with a special eyeglasses spacer, so I could play comfortably with my glasses on. Soon, you will be able to order special prescription lenses for the headset for $80.

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The interface is easy to use, even for someone who isn't a frequent VR user like me. You can browse Facebook, watch 360-degree videos, play your favorite Netflix shows or buy 3D movies. It's comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.

Overall, the visuals were smooth and crisp, although some of the 360-degree videos I watched -- especially those taken with smartphone cameras -- were lower quality.

Social will be an important part of Oculus Go. The company has revamped its Rooms app, which lets people make a custom environment and create an avatar of themselves. Oculus owners can invite their friends to visit their room, play tabletop games such as Boggle, watch movies together or share photos from their phone.

Facebook is also emphasizing its Venues feature. You can watch live events, such as Major League Baseball games, stadium shows from artists like Vance Joy, and standup events like Gotham Comedy Club. I wasn't able to test this feature -- the first live event won't happen until May 30.

The Oculus Go has plenty of room for improvement. Its library of 1,000 VR experiences pales in comparison to the near-infinite amount of content available on smartphones or gaming consoles.

Another potential drawback is that the Go has a so-called "3DoF" controller, which can only tell if you move your head up, down or side to side. More advanced VR headsets have 6DoF controllers, which offer a more immersive experience and cut down on motion sickness, according to analysts.

The battery life could also be a problem. Oculus says you can expect about one hour of battery life for gaming, and about two hours for watching TV or other entertainment. The Oculus Rift doesn't need to be charged, because it's plugged in to power.

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Virtual reality hasn't yet taken off with consumers. Only 4% of internet users around the world owned a VR headset at the end of 2017, according to analytics firm GlobalWebIndex.

Is the Oculus Go enough to fuel consumer adoption of virtual reality? Experts have mixed opinions.

"I don't think all of a sudden [this device] will change the market," said Victoria Petrock, principal analyst at eMarketer. "It may move the needle in terms of moving the technology toward something that is more mainstream. The fact that it doesn't have to be tethered to anything is a big plus."

Anshel Sag, -an associate analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, was more upbeat.

"I really think [Go] will bring VR much closer to the mainstream, if not kick off the beginning of mainstream usage for VR," he said. "At $199, it's a very palatable price for a lot of people."

The Go's success could ultimately come down to the content. If developers can deliver valuable and entertaining experiences, it could be an appealing gift for the 2018 holiday season.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 768624

Reported Deaths: 13993
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1055891807
Lake569801031
Allen43032699
St. Joseph37344568
Hamilton37335426
Elkhart29783470
Tippecanoe23503230
Vanderburgh23240405
Porter19580327
Johnson18843392
Hendricks18089323
Madison13575347
Clark13552198
Vigo12869256
LaPorte12578225
Monroe12575178
Delaware11155198
Howard10693237
Kosciusko9792124
Hancock8761150
Bartholomew8274157
Warrick8084157
Floyd8043182
Grant7378181
Wayne7239201
Boone7211105
Morgan6924143
Marshall6345117
Dubois6283118
Cass6096112
Dearborn602178
Noble600890
Henry5958111
Jackson517277
Shelby511598
Lawrence4928127
Gibson463696
Montgomery459292
DeKalb456785
Clinton456055
Harrison454077
Huntington417882
Whitley416745
Steuben411260
Miami406073
Jasper401655
Knox388691
Putnam385762
Wabash370384
Adams353856
Ripley351971
Jefferson343487
White340154
Daviess3089100
Wells304081
Greene295185
Decatur292693
Fayette286564
Posey282635
Scott281058
LaGrange277772
Clay274949
Washington254637
Randolph247783
Jennings239749
Spencer238731
Fountain235850
Starke229959
Owen222959
Sullivan221643
Fulton208945
Jay203032
Carroll197722
Orange191756
Perry189939
Vermillion181144
Rush177627
Tipton173347
Franklin172535
Parke155916
Pike142534
Blackford138032
Pulaski123748
Newton123336
Benton109715
Brown106243
Crawford105816
Martin92515
Warren87915
Switzerland8378
Union73610
Ohio58411
Unassigned0429

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1125420

Reported Deaths: 20490
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1305631493
Cuyahoga1173952263
Hamilton825481261
Montgomery536581062
Summit489381014
Lucas43799834
Butler40064614
Stark33876939
Lorain26072510
Warren24959312
Mahoning22738613
Lake21482396
Clermont20425261
Delaware19169138
Licking16879227
Trumbull16829492
Fairfield16825207
Medina15880276
Greene15565254
Clark14366308
Portage13450218
Wood13358201
Allen12064245
Richland11748213
Miami11047228
Wayne9275228
Columbiana9216236
Muskingum9144137
Pickaway8755123
Tuscarawas8724255
Marion8716140
Erie8146166
Ashtabula7280179
Hancock7050135
Ross7031165
Geauga6975153
Scioto6726108
Belmont6224179
Lawrence5964104
Union591649
Jefferson5729162
Huron5644122
Sandusky5498130
Darke5448131
Seneca5380128
Washington5373111
Athens527260
Auglaize507787
Mercer491785
Shelby484397
Knox4621113
Madison448066
Ashland446198
Defiance439499
Fulton436875
Putnam4358104
Crawford4120111
Brown410462
Preble3956107
Logan392279
Clinton391466
Ottawa376481
Highland366668
Williams357378
Champaign349860
Guernsey331554
Jackson321954
Perry299050
Morrow294943
Fayette289350
Hardin279665
Henry277467
Coshocton273061
Holmes2726102
Van Wert252365
Gallia251150
Adams250958
Pike244837
Wyandot235557
Hocking222963
Carroll201449
Paulding180142
Meigs151540
Monroe137945
Noble137939
Harrison115438
Morgan111724
Vinton87517
Unassigned04
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