Oculus went very quiet about their new standalone VR project after they debuted it last year. This could be because they wanted to wait until they were ready to unveil it or it could be because they’ve been quite busy between the lawsuits and the Oculus Rift sales not going as spectacularly as they’d probably hoped.
However, things have been looking up for Facebook owned Oculus recently, starting with their huge discount on the Rift causing a suspected huge rise in sales for the company. Now, according to an investigative piece by Bloomberg, the company is nearing the unveiling of their new standalone headset which will reportedly be called “Pacific” – I would dearly like to know how they got to that name if it is indeed what the device will be called.
In an emailed statement Oculus spokesman Alan Cooper told Bloomberg, “We don’t have a product to unveil at this time, however, we can confirm we’re making several significant technology investments in the standalone VR category.”
A New Approach To Catch The Market
As per the report, this new HMD will be launched next year with a reported price tag of $200. Clearly, the company is trying their best to target a larger part of the tech and gaming consumer population since the Rift at its current price tag and the beast of a PC needed to run it is still very niché at the moment. However, more mobile devices like the Gear VR has been doing much better in terms of overall sales and Oculus might be learning from that. This new standalone headset will allow people a VR without having to invest in expensive hardware or being tethered to a cable anymore. What’s more is that, unlike the Gear VR, it won’t need the help of an overheating mobile phone to act as display and processor, whose battery dies after an hour of play.
Ideally, I would say that Oculus will try to target a market that falls above the more low-end Gear VR of $120 and very much below their more powerful Rift. But that doesn’t mean that the device will offer a low-quality experience. According to Bloomberg, Facebook plans to power the HMD with a Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile chip which boasts a lot of power in one small package. However, this has yet to be confirmed. The device will also not have spatial tracking – meaning that it won’t be able to track your movements around a room. This sounds markedly different from the Santa Cruz prototype that Oculus spoke about last year which had several cameras that allowed inside-out tracking.
So for now, most of the news around the Oculus standalone “Pacific” HMD is still speculation. But if/when they do ship it next year they will need an app store ready for the launch. Which means that they could start shipping the prototype to content developers as early as September or October of this year. We’ll keep you up to date on any further advancements.