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posted by martyb on Thursday May 03 2018, @05:22AM   Printer-friendly
from the Go-for-it dept.

Facebook/Oculus has launched the standalone Oculus Go, which is an untethered wireless virtual reality headset similar to smartphone-based VR systems such as Samsung's Gear VR, but with its own built-in Snapdragon 821 SoC instead of using a smartphone:

The Oculus Go, a self-contained headset that offers mobile virtual reality without a smartphone, is going on sale today in 23 countries. The headset's $199 base version has 32GB of storage, and a 64GB version will sell for $249. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called it "the easiest way to get into VR," and in our review, we've found that it's certainly easy to use — but it still has major limitations.

The Oculus Go lacks 6 degrees of freedom (6DoF), unlike the upcoming Lenovo Mirage Solo. It also has just about 1-2 hours of useful battery life before needing to be recharged for a couple of hours, and the company discourages you from wearing it while it is recharging. SuperData predicts that Oculus Go will outsell all other VR headsets this year. The low price of $200 and untethered design could bring VR closer to becoming mainstream.

At its F8 conference, Facebook hinted at some features coming to its future VR headsets, including variable depth-of-field using physically adjusted varifocal lenses, an increase from a 110 to a 140-degree field-of-view without increasing the size of the headset, and built-in hand tracking. (Also at TechCrunch.) Facebook also announced Oculus Venues, an app for displaying live sports events, concerts, comedy shows, etc. in VR. These live events will begin on May 30.

Also at Tom's Hardware, RoadtoVR, USA Today, and Digital Trends. MIT Technology Review has an interview with Rachel Franklin, Facebook's head of social VR, who admits "there's not much to do" in Facebook Spaces, the company's "social VR app".

Original Submission

Related Stories

Facebook Announces Oculus Go for $200 9 comments

Facebook is attempting to make virtual reality a mainstream product, and hopes to reach one billion VR users "one day":

In its continued effort to take virtual reality mainstream, Facebook has announced Oculus Go - a standalone headset that will be released in 2018. Mark Zuckerberg said the device, priced at $199, would be the "most accessible VR experience ever".

Sales of the company's VR hardware have been slow since launching the first Oculus Rift headset in March 2016. "If VR doesn't go mass market at this price point, I think we can conclude that it never will," said John Delaney, an analyst with IDC. Facebook's previous budget VR product, Gear VR, is $129, but requires a high-end Samsung smartphone in order to work. Speaking at Facebook's yearly virtual reality developers conference in San Jose, Mr Zuckerberg acknowledged the slow adoption of the technology to date. But he said his company's goal was that one day, it would get one billion people into VR.

The headset is a standalone device that does not require a smartphone, headphones, or tether to a desktop computer. The high-end Oculus Rift headset has had its price cut to $400 (for good).

Oculus Go is not being sold anytime soon, and the Oculus blog warns that "Oculus Go is not, and may not be, offered for sale or lease, or sold or leased, until [FCC] authorization is obtained". Facebook says that the devices will be sent to developers within the next 12 months. Specs and battery details are also unknown (maybe they need to use one of these for you to feel safe strapping it to your head).

Also at Washington Post and TechCrunch. Oculus Blog.

Previously: Google Partnering With HTC and Lenovo for Standalone VR Headsets
Virtual Reality Audiences Stare Straight Ahead 75% of the Time
Google Bisects VR
Facebook/Oculus Reportedly Working on $200 Standalone VR Headset

Original Submission

Oculus Launches Venues App for Live Entertainment, Sports, Etc. 7 comments

Oculus launches live entertainment app Venues for Oculus Go and Gear VR headsets

Oculus VR's new platform for live entertainment experiences is launching today for the new, standalone Oculus Go headset and Samsung's Gear VR. The platform, called Oculus Venues, was first announced at Facebook's F8 developer conference at the beginning of May. It's centered on delivering live events like sporting matches, concerts, and comedy shows in the style of a streaming TV service — but in VR. That means viewers effectively get front-row seats to live shows from the comfort of their home, so long as they're content with wearing a VR headset for an extended period of time.

The first Venues event will be a live Vance Joy concert at Colorado's Red Rocks Amphitheater, followed by a Gotham Comedy Live show streamed from New York City in partnership with live events platform NextVR. Oculus has also released an entire summer lineup through August 27th that includes a pretty diverse slate of sports matches, live shows, and movies.

Also at Engadget and TechCrunch.

Previously: Facebook Launches Oculus Go, a $200 Standalone VR Headset

Original Submission

HTC: Death of VR Greatly Exaggerated 22 comments

HTC has hit back against claims of declining VR sales figures:

The blog post in particular references a report from Digital Trends which talks about VR sales figures from Amazon, and proceeds to point out a number of ways which the data presented could be misleading.

Several points made by HTC Vive are ones that have also been addressed by VRFocus, as seen in an article about the modern VR cycle, and some comments in the weekly VR vs. article. HTC Vive were not pulling punches right from the very start, evening saying in the introduction: "Analyst reports are in and apparently, it's curtains for Virtual Reality (VR). Pardon us if we're not heeding the alarms. News of the so-called death of VR comes once a year and is greatly exaggerated."

From there, the blog post proceeds in a point-by-point fashion, discussing how early consumer VR was largely driven by smartphone-based devices such as the Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard. Not only have these devices been superseded by standalone units like the Oculus Go, which offer a better visual experience, but the promotional offers which were available for phone launches have now long since passed. HTC Vive also point out that PC-based VR companies are yet to release any solid sales figures, and that much of the growth of premium VR has been centered around location-based VR centres, something which the Digital Trends report did not address.

Vive blog post.

Related: HTC's Vive Pro to Launch on April 5
Facebook Launches Oculus Go, a $200 Standalone VR Headset
VirtualLink Consortium Announces USB Type-C Specification for VR Headsets

Original Submission

Facebook Announces a New Standalone VR Headset: Oculus Quest; HTC Releases Vive Wireless Adapter 8 comments

Oculus Quest, a fully wireless VR headset, shipping spring 2019 for $399

Facebook used its latest virtual reality conference, the fifth annual Oculus Connect, to finally confirm retail plans for its most ambitious standalone VR product yet: the Oculus Quest. Originally known by its prototype name, Oculus Santa Cruz, the Quest will ship in spring 2019 for $399.

In terms of the sales pitch, this is the Oculus holy grail: a wireless, hand-tracked, "six degrees of freedom" VR system with apparently legitimate 3D power and no required PC or phone.

The headset will include two bundled handheld controllers, and more than 50 games will be available at launch. The headset has a 1600×1440 per eye resolution (3200×1440 total resolution), compared to 1280×1440 per eye for Oculus Go or 1440×1600 per eye for HTC's Vive Pro, and has 64 GB of internal storage.

Vive's wireless adapter gives the best VR experience lots of money can buy:

Oculus Co-Founder Brendan Iribe Leaves Facebook 11 comments

Oculus co-founder is leaving Facebook after cancellation of 'Rift 2' headset

Brendan Iribe, the co-founder and former CEO of Oculus, announced today that he is leaving Facebook, TechCrunch has learned.

Iribe is leaving Facebook following some internal shake-ups in the company's virtual reality arm last week that saw the cancellation of the company's next generation "Rift 2" PC-powered virtual reality headset, which he had been leading development of, a source close to the matter told TechCrunch.

Iribe and the Facebook executive team had "fundamentally different views on the future of Oculus that grew deeper over time," and Iribe wasn't interested in a "race to the bottom" in terms of performance, we are told.

[...] The cancellation of the company's next-gen PC-based "Rift 2" virtual reality product showcases how the interests of Facebook's executive leadership have centered on all-in-one headsets that don't require a connection to an external PC or phone. In May, Oculus released the $199 Oculus Go headset and plans to release the $399 Oculus Quest headset sometime next spring.

Update 1: Oculus reconfirms "future version of Rift" amid PC cancellation rumors

Update 2: John Carmack: 'I Intend To Stay At Facebook After Oculus Quest Launch'

Also at CNBC, The Verge, and Gizmodo.

Previously: Founder of Oculus VR, Palmer Luckey, Departs Facebook
Instagram Co-Founders to Step Down From Facebook

Related: Facebook Launches Oculus Go, a $200 Standalone VR Headset
Facebook Announces a New Standalone VR Headset: Oculus Quest; HTC Releases Vive Wireless Adapter

Original Submission

Oculus to Begin Requiring Facebook Accounts to Use VR Headsets 40 comments

Mandatory Socialization: Facebook Accounts To be Required for Oculus Headsets

Signaling the end to any remaining degrees of separation between Facebook and its VR headset division, Oculus, today the social media company announced that it will be further integrating the two services. Coming this fall, the company will begin sunsetting stand-alone Oculus accounts as part of an effort to transition the entire Oculus ecosystem over to Facebook. This will start in October, when all new Oculus accounts and devices will have to sign up for a Facebook account, while support for existing stand-alone accounts will be retired entirely at the start of 2023.

Previously: Facebook to Buy Rift Maker Oculus VR for $2bn
Facebook/Oculus Ordered to pay $500 Million to ZeniMax
Founder of Oculus VR, Palmer Luckey, Departs Facebook
Facebook Announces Oculus Go for $200
Facebook's Zuckerberg Wants to Get One Billion People in VR
Facebook Launches Oculus Go, a $200 Standalone VR Headset
Oculus Co-Founder Says there is No Market for VR Gaming
John Carmack Steps Down at Oculus to Pursue AI Passion Project
Facebook is Developing its Own OS to Reduce Dependence on Android

Original Submission

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03 2018, @08:32AM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03 2018, @08:32AM (#674980)

    I want as pure hardware as possible... remember the days of looking at a datasheet and doing some outs, or using some minimal firmware API through int 10h, when you knew you were not being f*cked in the arse by malicious code? Why dafuq would I be required to have internet access to use a display device that was supposed to be mine?

    Problem is, the sheeple just consume what is being fed, no questions raised. And everybody gets f*cked in the process.

    • (Score: 2) by ledow on Thursday May 03 2018, @11:28AM (1 child)

      by ledow (5567) on Thursday May 03 2018, @11:28AM (#675003) Homepage

      The days of devices coming with any sort of published hardware specs are long gone. As in, decades ago.

      The problem is - and there is virtually NOTHING you can do about it - nobody cares because nobody wants to tinker. The hardware hackers are a vanishingly small percentage of consumers. How many people own a Wiimote? Millions. Tens of millions. How many of those have ever connected it to anything other than a Wii? Almost nobody as a percentage. How many of those just "downloaded a program that does it"? Again, a tiny, tiny percentage of that. How many actually understood, reverse-engineered the hardware, coded up the protocol, wrote the drivers, etc.? Probably you can name them in a single Google search, and I'd be amazed if it came to more than half-a-dozen people spread over just as many projects to do just that.

      Same way, nobody cares how their car works. Only garages, tinkerers and manufacturers.
      Nobody cares how their toaster works.
      Or telephone.
      Or kettle.
      Or coffee machine.
      Or even how their desk goes together, for the most part. They'll tinker with it once, maybe twice in its lifetime.

      You are 40 years too late, far too niche to do anything about it, and literally nobody (as a percentage) will care at all. We're all glad some Chinese guy figured out how to make replacement screens for our phone so we can give the guy in the market £25 for a new one. But when that isn't an option, it barely even affects the majority of consumer spending (e.g. iPhone repairs and turning-off-iPhones that have been repaired, as an example - people still buy them).

      You're onto a loser before you even start. Hell, there's not even any point making an AM crystal radio any more, pretty much nothing interesting is broadcast over those frequencies and you need hardware to do anything interesting now.

      In the same way that basically nobody nowadays knows how to shoe a horse, make stained glass, thatch a roof, mill flour, etc. all the things you're decrying are never going to fix themselves and only "get worse" over time. Soon you won't know how your house works, let alone your VR headset.

      It's a losing battle. Rather than yell about it, accept it. I'm a massive tinkerer but I just can't be bothered any more. About the closest I have in mind is making an arcade cabinet from an RPi and some arcade joysticks and buttons. To be honest, it'll probably be cheaper and easier to just buy a kit, because everything "techy" about it will be on boards using overpowered chips I don't understand to convert basic switch inputs to some USB2 protocol or similar (I2C on GPIO pins or whatever).

      Hence, the majority of people - who have no interest, knowledge or skill in this regard, and whose children will have even less - just can't afford the time or money to care about it and just want to phone a friend, microwave some food, chat to friends on Facebook or watch TV. They just cannot care about things to that level of micromanagement in daily life. And even myself, a very techy person, I just got home after a full day of battling with techy stuff, and I want my computer and everything else to "just work". Which often means buying off-the-shelf hardware and accepting the downsides.

      Honestly. Give it up.

      P.S. Stealth TSR's and viruses existed on old OS like DOS just the same as every other operating system, They were saved at the time by not having always-on Internet connections and download of arbitrary executables by default, nothing to do with the API.

      • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Thursday May 03 2018, @12:21PM

        by acid andy (1683) on Thursday May 03 2018, @12:21PM (#675014) Homepage Journal

        What you say has probably been true up till now, for a large enough majority of consumers for the manufacturers to get away with this. It doesn't help that many people that do want to hack, will still capitulate and buy these closed products anyway due to a lack of choice.

        However, times may yet change. The ever widening gap between rich and poor in the western world or, more specifically, worsening poverty, must eventually reduce people's capacity to keep throwing out and repurchasing the same items. There comes a point where they simply cannot afford to. The ever rising crappiness of the cheapest products means many are effectively broken on arrival if not within a few months. So surely, eventually, anyone with half a brain will seek to repair or do without.

        There already is a growing movement for Right to Repair. And when you start to look in particular sectors like agriculture, the expectation of being able to dismantle and work on your own equipment has always persisted. It's only recently in that case that the manufacturers have started to seize control.

        Consumerism is poison.
    • (Score: 4, Informative) by acid andy on Thursday May 03 2018, @12:07PM

      by acid andy (1683) on Thursday May 03 2018, @12:07PM (#675010) Homepage Journal

      Open Source Virtual Reality

      Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) is an open-source software project that aims to enable headsets and game controllers from all vendors to be used with any games. It is also a virtual reality headset that claims to be open-source hardware using the OSVR software.[2] However, as of October 2016 electrical hardware and firmware source files have not yet been made available.[3] The hardware source files that have been released so far are under a proprietary, source-available license.[4] []

      Not completely open, yet, but open enough to hack away to your heart's content, with compatibility with SteamVR and some legacy Oculus applications should you want it.

      Consumerism is poison.
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by takyon on Thursday May 03 2018, @01:12PM

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {}> on Thursday May 03 2018, @01:12PM (#675026) Journal
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by coolgopher on Thursday May 03 2018, @10:03AM (9 children)

    by coolgopher (1157) on Thursday May 03 2018, @10:03AM (#674990)

    What is it good for really? Why would one want one of these rather than a Vive?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03 2018, @11:46AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03 2018, @11:46AM (#675006)

      > Why would one want one of these rather than a Vive?

      • (Score: 2) by coolgopher on Friday May 04 2018, @09:48AM

        by coolgopher (1157) on Friday May 04 2018, @09:48AM (#675560)

        You're not saving that if the Go can't actually *do* the things you want to do. You know, like spend the evening gaming perhaps?

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday May 03 2018, @01:14PM

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {}> on Thursday May 03 2018, @01:14PM (#675028) Journal

      * Wireless/untethered.
      * Cheaper, and also no expensive PC or smartphone required.

      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
    • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Thursday May 03 2018, @03:03PM (3 children)

      by Freeman (732) on Thursday May 03 2018, @03:03PM (#675092) Journal

      I got my Vive for $420 off e-bay. This thing is being introduced at $199. It's also, stand-alone. Which means just $199+tax. As opposed to $499+tax + $300-$400 video card + computer ($400 or so at least). So you're really comparing a $199 device to a $1,199 device. Yes, the Vive will be better for all sorts of reasons. None of those are economical ones.

      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by Freeman on Thursday May 03 2018, @03:08PM (2 children)

        by Freeman (732) on Thursday May 03 2018, @03:08PM (#675096) Journal

        Actually, I forgot to mention the biggest downside to the Occulus Go. You must have an android phone or iPhone to activate it. It's all kinds of stupid, but there it is. Most people will have one or the other already, so the price of a smart phone isn't necessarily something you'd need to consider in addition to the Occulus Go. []

        Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by takyon on Thursday May 03 2018, @03:18PM (1 child)

          by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {}> on Thursday May 03 2018, @03:18PM (#675103) Journal

          Between that and this:

          The Mirage's 6DOF is still quite limited—you need to remain seated

          I think I'll wait a couple of years.

          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
          • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday May 03 2018, @06:21PM

            by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {}> on Thursday May 03 2018, @06:21PM (#675203) Journal

            The Mirage's 6DOF is still quite limited—you need to remain seated

            I'm still puzzling over what this means. Does it mean that it can detect your head motion (not just rotation) using accelerometers but can't distinguish head motion from leg/body motion (which would *likely* require an external tracker)? If so, that's not so bad. Fixing the problem without an external tracker plugged in the room somewhere could be painful... wireless socks?

            [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
    • (Score: 2) by richtopia on Thursday May 03 2018, @03:56PM (1 child)

      by richtopia (3160) on Thursday May 03 2018, @03:56PM (#675123) Homepage Journal

      I can envision a huge market for this. I read somewhere (on this site I think) that movies are one of the largest uses for VR headsets right now. Removing the PC requirements makes the system much more approachable for someone looking for an app-like experience. The specific application I can think of is aeroplanes: the same people who travel enough to buy 300USD noise-canceling headphones can shell out similar money for a theatre like experience.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by takyon on Thursday May 03 2018, @04:19PM

        by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {}> on Thursday May 03 2018, @04:19PM (#675131) Journal

        Prerendered/captured 180 or 360-degree video is less intensive than games, and most likely less work to make an entertaining experience (making games is hard enough without throwing in VR interactivity features). Although we'll see how well live 360-degree video works on most people's Internet connections.

        movies are one of the largest uses for VR headsets right now.

        If you look at the Oculus Venues [] link, you can see a GIF of how live events could be viewed using a VR headset. In some previous comment, I suggested simulating a movie theater, and populating the seats with other people using headsets. You could include audience chatter using microphones, an algorithm that makes the people "nearer" to you in the audience sound louder, and obviously the ability to turn such noise off. Then you just need good headphones to get the closest you can to 3D-sounding audio that mimics the theater experience. There are many [] products [] that claim to do better at this task; I have not tried any of them.

        While Hollywood would probably want to try DRM-enabled Day 1 VR "theater" viewing of movies, at some high ticket price, it should be possible to just share a URL or video file among a small group of friends, and sync everyone up in the virtual theater environment (bonus points for decentralization). Compare to something like Sync Video [] (YouTube seems to be working on a native implementation [] of this).

        [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
  • (Score: 2) by ledow on Thursday May 03 2018, @11:14AM (4 children)

    by ledow (5567) on Thursday May 03 2018, @11:14AM (#675000) Homepage

    Shoulda been Nintendo.
    Shoulda been available at the Switch's launch.

    Then they could have owned the casual gaming market for another 10 years, like the Wii did.

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday May 03 2018, @01:23PM (2 children)

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {}> on Thursday May 03 2018, @01:23PM (#675032) Journal

      Content is still scarce. They could do just fine coming in around 2020 with something. Maybe time it with a Nintendo Switch hardware refresh (new version of the Nvidia Tegra could be dropped in). Unfortunately, if they wanted to use the Switch console itself as the base for a VR headset, they would need a better screen. Everyone would almost certainly need to buy a new Nintendo Switch with beefed up GPU and screen specs to make the scheme work.

      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03 2018, @06:04PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03 2018, @06:04PM (#675192)

        > Content is still scarce.

        Meet Mario and Princess Zelda. Meet Luigi and Princess Peach. Welcome to Mario × Zelda Swing Party VR. Begin the adventure!

    • (Score: 2) by quacking duck on Thursday May 03 2018, @02:59PM

      by quacking duck (1395) on Thursday May 03 2018, @02:59PM (#675090)

      After trying and failing miserably with the Virtual Boy [], Nintendo is naturally more hesitant about another stab at the VR market.

      Unlike the Wii, which succeeded because of relatively inexpensive technology in the Wiimotes and camera tracking, VR is more expensive to get to an acceptable level for gaming (minimum sustained FPS per eye, minimum screen resolution per eye, decent lenses). Sony's Playstation VR (disclaimer: I have one) is already bottlenecked by requiring compatibility with the original 2013 PS4 (and to keep costs down they reused/updated the PS3-era camera and Move controllers that lack analog stick or even D-pad for directional input), and the Nintendo Wii U and Switch are both less powerful than even that.

      There was no way the Switch could've pulled this off without costing several hundred dollars more.