Facebook's Oculus aims to bring VR to 1 billion people

Facebook's Oculus aims to bring VR to 1 billion people

Lindsey Duncan
October 14, 2017

On Wednesday, Facebook announced that it developed a new virtual reality system called Oculus Go, which the American company will launch on 2018.

Before we close, it's worth mentioning that this isn't the wireless Oculus rift "Santa Cruz" prototype announced at last year's conference, that particular unit is still in development and is now slated for a 2019 release. Audi is using Oculus to create virtual showrooms for its cars that let prospective customers try out thousands of custom configurations before making an order.

In 2014, Facebook paid $3 billion to acquire Oculus and retain its employees. The VR has those systems integrated, so people don't have to be anxious to find a powerful, new phone, laptop, or desktop computer - which are usually very expensive.

The social media giant has invested enormously in virtual reality hardware.

VR, however, hasn't enjoyed the wide adoption that gaming consoles have seen.

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"I think you're going to see these a lot on airplanes, because it's way better than the back-of-the-seat monitor or my phone", said Mike Schroepfer, Facebook's chief technology officer, in an interview.

Oculus Go is targeted at people who do not possess Samsung smartphones.

"Oculus Go is a Facebook-made alternative for the (Samsung) Gear VR that will not require a recent Samsung phone to operate", Schachter said. However, while analysts MCV spoke to were generally in agreement that Oculus Go is a good idea, its price alone won't be enough to achieve Oculus' goal. Microsoft's mixed reality Hololens has been used to connect engineers at Ford, and, earlier this week, Nvidia announced Holodeck, a high-resolution collaborative environment that companies can use to design, develop and demonstrate their products in virtual reality.

Facebook's Oculus wants to get 1 billion people into virtual reality, but the price of a high-quality headset might turn consumers away from trying out the technology. 360-degree videos, which are some of the most popular Gear VR content, wouldn't be improved at all. The cheapest headset that the company so far had on offer is the Gear VR.