Virtual reality is a tremendous expertise with a elementary barrier-to-entry drawback. The HTC Vive and Oculus Rift ship a high-quality expertise, notably for first-generation merchandise, however they aren’t notably cheap at $499 and $399, respectively. The new Oculus Go is supposed to function a standalone, entry-level VR expertise that trades sure options for a decrease $199 worth level. If the gadget is correctly balanced, it might function a gateway product into VR. The fallacious combine, nevertheless, might truly backfire and depart individuals feeling adverse about the complete virtual reality idea. But there’s excellent news on that entrance — early previews of the Oculus Go are rolling in, they usually’re fairly constructive.
The Oculus Go doesn’t connect to your PC and it doesn’t require a smartphone. It’s a self-contained unit that features a single controller and a display “overclock” choice that may increase the refresh price to 72Hz, up from 60Hz. While that’s under the 90Hz sometimes specified for “best” VR, Oculus’ inner testing discovered 72Hz is a suitable candy spot for gamers.
The included controller isn’t the full-featured mannequin one may anticipate from the Oculus Touch. PCMag’s Will Greenwald describes it as follows:
[It’s] a small, rectangular puck with a clickable touchpad on the highest and a big set off button on the underside. There are Back and Oculus buttons under the touchpad, however that’s it for controls. The twin triggers, bodily face buttons, and analog stick of the Oculus Touch are nowhere to be discovered, neither is the Touch’s giant, curved outer shell used for movement monitoring with the Oculus Rift sensors.
Oculus hasn’t revealed system specs but, however Ars Technica studies the Oculus Go is equivalent to the upcoming Xiaomi Mi VR Standalone. That headset is predicated on the Snapdragon 821 (2x 2.35GHz Kryo cores, 2x 1.6GHz Kryo cores, Adreno 530 GPU).
There are at present three recreation demos out there for the Oculus Go, two of which work properly. Reviewers discovered Anshar Online (an area sim fight recreation) and They Suspect Nothing (a first-person puzzle / arcade recreation) each labored pretty properly and awarded them strong marks. The third recreation, a VR model of the board recreation Settlers of Catan (Catan VR, natch) got here in for heavier criticism, because of the controller’s lowered accuracy and restricted options.
As for the visible results, Ars Technica summarized Anshar Online as having “a PlayStation 2 game’s polygonal budget and an Xbox 360’s lighting and effects pipeline. Not bad for a self-contained $200 gaming device.” The display was additionally praised for its 2560×1440 panel, minimal light-blur ghosting, and high-quality lenses. Ars opines, “I have never seen a low-cost VR device produce such stunning visuals.”
What’s much less clear is whether or not the Oculus Go can transfer the needle on VR adoption. Right now, the market is split between low-cost wi-fi units that require a smartphone (Samsung’s Gear VR) and costlier wired units particularly aimed toward gaming lovers. But regardless of some strong early games and some good AAA titles with VR help, we haven’t actually seen a killer recreation or must-have app but. Virtual reality continues to be ready for its Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, or GLQuake.
As a matter of market segmentation, a $199 standalone gadget makes lots of sense. It’ll additionally assist Oculus construct its personal storefront and place it as a Steam competitor over the long run, assuming it catches on. But there’s additionally an actual danger of complicated clients who don’t perceive why they will’t play normal PC virtual reality games with their new Oculus Go. Ideally, titles can be able to cutting down or as much as run on both system, however that type of flexibility is a great distance off, if it ever arrives in any respect.
As a first-generation early product, nevertheless, the Oculus Go impresses. Every publication who examined the headset got here away at the very least cautiously optimistic about its future and capabilities. And if the gadget sells nicely it might assist propel VR in the direction of a wider market and a wi-fi future. Oculus has not introduced a ship date past “early 2018.” The firm additionally hasn’t clarified if it’ll produce a number of variations of the Oculus Go, or what options costlier SKUs may supply.