Oculus, as you may know, is the virtual reality startup that was picked up by Facebook in March of 2014 for a sweet $2 billion. Since then they and their competitor HTC have each released VR products that are light years ahead of any consumer grade VR that came before. The problem though was the price point of $600-$800 dollars meant most people with the time and inclination to want VR were priced right out of the market. To use one of those systems it isn’t even enough to simply purchase one. You need the high-end PC capable of running it for it to function as anything but a paperweight. At the time VR needed products that worked, and with function comes cost. Sales were what you could expect, the people that could afford the experience bought it but they hardly flew off the shelves.
But on Tuesday that dynamic was broken when Oculus released the Oculus Go, a $200 dollar self-contained VR device. The cost is slashed, the tethered PC is gone, the screen resolution is actually better than the original. Life is good, right? Well, that price comes with a big caveat. While the Rift can track your orientation plus your position the Go can only tell your orientation. This is a game breaking flaw for most of the existing Oculus and HTC games that exist today. Making the experience (and compatible software) much similar to the Samsung Gear VR. There is also the Facebook problem, Facebook seems to have an issue lately with protecting user data and now they will be able to quite literally track your movements. Though I’m personally very concerned with my data exfiltration and I think in this case the benefits outweigh the risks. This is a great product for a new VR niche and the Go fills that niche very well. The experience of watching movies or steams through the device is very enjoyable and the portability of the product offers new possibilities such as instant isolation from chatty travelers on a flight as one example. Oh, and did I mention $200?