Behold! The Oculus Go - a standalone VR headset that costs $199

Sean Hollister  CNET

Sean Hollister CNET

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg officially announced the new product during his keynote speech at Facebook's fourth Oculus Connect virtual reality (VR) developer conference in San Jose, Calif. Wednesday, where he framed the device as an important step towards bringing VR to the masses.

Audi is one of the launch partners, which is using Oculus For Business to build VR showrooms where you can configure a auto and actually walk around it before you buy. However, it won't have any positional tracking, which means that high-end VR apps available on the Oculus Rift headset won't run on the device.

It'll cost $US199 ($255), a good chunk cheaper than its big brother the Oculus Rift which originally sold for $US549 ($704).

In keeping with the announcement of the mobile-centric Oculus Go, Facebook has also revealed the previously reveled in-development Oculus Rift follow-up will be a fully wireless VR experience. The headset itself is covered with a soft fabric material, not unlike Google's Daydream View headset.

Oculus says the standalone headset's fast-switch, high-resolution LCD display reduces the "screen-door effect" that's noticeable when experiencing virtual reality on smartphones - that is, the sense that the display's pixels are separated by fine black lines. It also supports pulling 2D windows into virtual reality, where you can pin them into the VR experience.

The device is priced at $199 (Rs 12,960 approximately), making it one of the most affordable headsets from the Oculus portfolio. Hugo Barra, Facebook's VP of VR, said that it's "hands-down the easiest way for developers to get involved with VR".

Importantly, the Oculus Go uses the same controller input set as the Gear VR and Oculus Go. That seems to indicate the Oculus Go is running on some flavor of Android, but that's unconfirmed right now. The new headset was shown off with updated controllers, fittingly dubbed the Santa Cruz controllers.

Oculus first announced its intention to build a standalone VR headset a year ago at the same developers conference. He and Facebook's head of social virtual reality, Rachel Franklin, appeared as avatars within the broadcast from his profile as they "teleported" to different locations using Facebook's "social VR" tool Spaces.

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