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".
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.
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.
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.
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. However, as of October 2016 electrical hardware and firmware source files have not yet been made available. The hardware source files that have been released so far are under a proprietary, source-available license.
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.
What is it good for really? Why would one want one of these rather than a Vive?
> Why would one want one of these rather than a Vive?$300
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?
* Wireless/untethered.* Cheaper, and also no expensive PC or smartphone required.
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.
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.https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2018/03/oculus-go-world-premiere-acceptable-compromises-amazing-quality-for-199 [arstechnica.com]
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.
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?
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.
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 [techcrunch.com] 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 [theverge.com] products [ossic.com] 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 [sync-video.com] (YouTube seems to be working on a native implementation [techcrunch.com] of this).
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.
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.
> Content is still scarce.
Meet Mario and Princess Zelda. Meet Luigi and Princess Peach. Welcome to Mario × Zelda Swing Party VR. Begin the adventure!
Well, there are no Nintendo Switch VR games in 2018, and if they want to make them, they will need a year or two to work on them. Maybe they are starting right now.
After trying and failing miserably with the Virtual Boy [wikipedia.org], 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.