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Introducing Oculus Go, Plus Santa Cruz Updates (oculus.com)
196 points by runesoerensen on Oct 11, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 189 comments

Does anybody know if VR headsets will eventually replace monitors? Would be great for ergonomics. Much more portable, you don't have to sit but can lie on a couch, have a lot of screen estate even in tight spaces such as on a plane etc. That with a keyboard is my dream setup.

Here's what I think would be needed to largely chunk those weird squares into the garbage bin:

- Comfort: It has to be comfortable for a lot of people to use the device for an extended time. Lets say 4 hours. Current Gen VR gets uncomfortable around 20-30 minutes. That isn't too big a bridge to cross.

- Resolution: Current Gen VR isn't suitable for looking at a lot of text for a long time due to the PPD (Pixels per degree). I've tried the Plimax 4K, and it felt very close, to the degree that I think that the Plimax 8K Pro (Which uses native 8K resolution unlike the standard 9k) could very well be there.

- Text input: This could be tricky because its not something being demanded by games at all. A very easy to imagine solution would be tracked fingers + a tracked physical keyboard. Current finger tracking is juusssst about good enough for this, but not quite. I think this is only really critical for VR coding and text processing, social and general UI use is going to lean on voice as much as possible because it fits into the VR paradigm much better.

>social and general UI use is going to lean on voice as much as possible because it fits into the VR paradigm much better.

I don't think so, how would you talk on the phone and input text? I don't think people are going to be comfortable giving up the privacy of a keyboard.

Also, why can't you just use a keyboard? what is the purpose of finger tracking?

Here's a partial solution for text input (or at least for editing text): https://youtu.be/tztmgCcZaM4?t=1m25s

This video is what convinced me to buy in to VR:


Reminds me of a non-VR game called Quadrilateral Cowboy [1].

[1] https://youtu.be/g0mi9J5b4Xs?t=24m46s

In the keynote, one of the developers said that they've done exactly this for some of the dev team. Specifically, they are using Visual Studio, in VR, as their primary development environment.

Could be hyperbole for marketing purposes, but even if so, I think we'll get there soon enough. They explicitly said that replacing monitors is one of their [long term] goals for VR.

Maybe if the headsets became "ultra-comfortable", but these are nowhere near that. I have some much better than average headphones, that are near top of the line for comfort. They still are too much after a few hours.

Headphones are a solvable problem. There are people who wear headphones to work, as opposed to while working. All day comfort is a bullet point because radio and media people look for it. I guarantee you can find a set of cans that agrees with you for more than 8 hours.

I wore a pair of Sony MDR-7506, the ubiquitous radio cans, for 8+ hours every day while operating and editing talk radio and didn’t even notice, despite the job calling for constantly necking them and then putting them back. And I have a large head. They’re ubiquitous in radio for a reason.

Are your headphones too heavy or do they put too much pressure around your ears? I can work through whole day with my M50x. However it took some getting use to them and stretching the overhead metal.

If you get some of the nicer pads for them off amazon, they're even better. Other than the music in my ears, I Honestly forget I have them on.

I'd be worried about eye strain with such long, continuous, and frequent periods of usage.

When using VR, do we focus on the objects or on some fixed point? If it is the objects, it could simulate being at different distances, so it should be better than staring at a stationary screen.

It's an implementation detail that varies by headset. I've read that Oculus's developer kits had it at infinity, but the CV1 is fixed at 2 meters [1].

Oculus also had a "focal surface display" tech demo of a display system that can alter the optics to vary tje focal distance across an image, letting it approximate the scene you're looking at. This isn't in any consumer hardware (yet) [2].

[1] https://www.reddit.com/r/oculus/comments/56hiug/oculus_rift_...

[2] https://www.oculus.com/blog/oculus-research-to-present-focal...

For binocular vision, you can adjust the distance the object appears at virtually. Oculus gives a guideline of 0.75-3.5m for rendering objects that will have long term gaze (UI, etc). The screen itself is at a focal distance of about 1.3m, which is what your eyeballs need to focus on individually (flexing the lens itself).


yeah but i’ve heard aome studies have shown the blue light from vr headsets damage your eyes anyway

SteamVR and Vive have a night mode, so should be do-able with Oculus. I feel fine after several hours of elite dangerous with that on, although elite is a dark game and this video shows bright white color schemes. Maybe dark UI + night would be the difference.

Owning both an original Oculus and a Vive, both are way too bright for me. I wear sunglasses under the helmet to help with this, and they also help with the pixelation, making games look more real.

Don't we get that with monitors now?

is your monitor 3 inches from your eye and does it take up your entire fov where you can’t look away?

Why are you wasting company time looking away from your work product, meat cog?

Of course they will, if you're including the universe of VR/AR/XR and whatever other evolution might occur in the field.

It's like asking whether color movies will replace black and white.

Depth literally adds another dimension. It's literally 2d to 3d. In the same way you wouldn't want to go from movies back to still images, or color movies to black and white. Why would you want to look at a flat image in front of you when you could have a device that can replicate that flat image OR show you a 3d model.

Odd choice of analogy, since many people did not prefer 3D films when those were put into wide release, and 3D televisions were a huge flop.

Edit: I don't disagree that VR will be extended to a wide range of mainstream applications...just pointing out a problem with the analogy of color/B&W film.

It's pre-digital horizon, but I'd be curious if there was significant rejection of early color film technology due to its (I'm guessing) inferiority to a mature black and white process.

From memory, I believe early film with sound did have this issue. Although as caused by direction problems as technical ones.

Yes, my edit was confusing. I didn't mean color/B&W, but rather 2D/3D transition. I'm sure color was a big hit. Your point about sound is really interesting, too.

This is what I'm waiting for, basically.

When I had a DK2, using the virtual desktop application was so much fun. The issue is that the resolution isn't quite there yet, but I think that issue will be solved sooner than you would think (at least for desktop use).

The FOV and PPD isn't there yet for either though. If anything is going to replace monitors it will be AR displays, not VR.

Multitude of reasons but the biggest one would be that you can still work with others line of sight in the real world with AR, whereas everyone needs to be in VR to.

Plenty will protest with the idea that the isolation of VR would be beneficial to focus, however 1. You can get most of the way there with AR as is, or just add an opaque cover to the AR glasses and 2. It's cognitively beneficial to see your real surroundings over the course of an entire work day (even if you claim your work day is 4 hours)

> Multitude of reasons but the biggest one would be that you can still work with others line of sight in the real world with AR, whereas everyone needs to be in VR to.

Not with the right tech.

If you had a few depth-sensing cameras plopped around - cameras which could image both the actual images and depth information, in theory you could use that info to build on-the-fly 3D models of your surroundings (including people) and merge them into the world being viewed in a person's HMD.

All the tech currently exists; cheap Kinects or Sony VR cameras could work for this, for instance - but there also exist better, if much more expensive, options as well.

AR has its purposes, but there isn't anything you can do with AR that you can't do with VR - where the inverse is demonstrably false (for instance, AR glasses which use see-thru technology cannot show "black" as a color; physics doesn't allow for it). While you can/could add a shield to turn AR goggles into a VR experience, unless those AR goggles have a huge field of view, you'll have a fairly underwhelming experience (I have yet to see any AR display device outside of lab conditions that can give as wide of FOV as current low-cost VR HMDs - this has always been the case since the 90s IO-Glasses and similar offerings).

All the tech currently exists; cheap Kinects or Sony VR cameras could work for this, for instance

Unfortunately, that's not really correct - at least not at any level of quality that is viable. MSFT showed off some examples of this a year or two ago but the subject of real time scanning was in a very engineered and restricted space.

It's also unneccessary, unless the goal was telepresence, why would you scan someone in who is in the same office?

If the argument is that we're all going to work from home because we can all be scanned in virtually and work inside VR, then I won't be able to convince you that the barriers to that aren't predominantly technological.

there isn't anything you can do with AR that you can't do with VR

Ha, ok.

For me I dislike the isolation and feeling that someone can sneak up on you so my speculation is that it's not a great daily driver but could be useful in spurts. Maybe after a while it would feel normal but I am unsure.

Speaking of a daily driver, in Seattle we already have a problem with people VRing while driving. At least it has really helped the homeless cope with the bleakness of their existence.

Hey, if you were acclimated to it I bet VR headsets could make for better drivers. Put cameras around the car and give you a wider field of view, plus it's not obstructed by the frame.

It could have a look-behind mode that swaps around 180 degrees to the rear camera array while you're in reverse. Better spatial awareness than a backup camera on a screen.

Could you elaborate? That sounds crazy! ("VRing while driving") Are there any news articles about that?

No, because GP was joking...

Whoosh! I guess :) . Thanks. Sometimes it's hard distinguishing what's reality from fiction in the U.S. from South America :)

I could definitely see homeless people turning to a virtual world to avoid their dreary lives much as they turn to alcohol and drugs now...

Ready Player One

I've tried walking around with a GearVR on my face with the phone camera turned on, and the latency makes it non-trivial. There's no way I would even think about trying to drive with this thing on.

IMO, they will probably add dual cameras so you can still show the outside world while you work. Like AR, with VR goggles.

The Vive already has that. Well, only a single camera, but still.

I wonder if they could eventually add some "spider-sense" sensors to the headset and then a voice in your headset that says a person is approaching or whatever.

I would only want this if it could serve as a kind of augmented reality. Show me very large screens as if they are infront of me, but let me move my head and see everything else normally.

I think that is a long way away, though.

It's technically possible now with the Holo Lens.

It depends on your job, but this sounds horrific to me. Like a cubicle but smaller.

I fly a ton for my job and I typically use a USB monitor but obviously on a plane this isn't possible (hell, there is barely enough room for me to work on just my laptop much less two screens) - virtual screens via a VR headset would be a game-changer for me. I probably wouldn't use them daily (quad monitor setup at home, usb monitor when travelling) but would definitely spend a several hundred on a headset if it means multi-monitor on a plane

Isn't the idea of VR to be immersive so that is seems like a large real world?

Yes, but in my office I often talk to other devs, designers and QA being immersed in a different world would make collaboration a tedious task for everybody. Just being able to turn around and exchange a few words is fast, easy and human.

In my dreams the keyboard disappears. My eyes, or fingers, move the cursor, I can speak interactively with the computer, gesture, etc. Can fingers/hands be tracked sufficiently to provide an accurate soft keyboard?


Leap Motion Orion is pretty magical - there is a whole new level of presence when your hands come with you into VR. Sadly it seems as though nobody noticed, 95% of the stuff is tech demos. I only used it for a few weeks but totally felt as though it covered the cost.

Perhaps for media consumption and games but unlikely for developer or office work (at least not within the foreseeable future) due to the very hard problem of achieving the necessary optical fidelity to make VR a pragmatic option compared to even a standard 1080p LED monitor.

I already feel strain in my eyes by looking at computer screens for 6 - 8h / day, and then I still move around a bit and don't focus at exactly the same distance all the time.

Moving the screen even closer to the eyes and having to focus ~4 inches in front of you at all times doesn't sound like a great idea, in the long run.

I think the Rift has a fixed focal length of ~2 meters

Ah interesting, so even though the screen / lenses are only a couple of inches from the eyes, they focus at a distance of ~2 meters?

Big Screen on Steam is sort of getting to what you're thinking of, I know of several other startups trying this:


As long as it's not too heavy - I would guess that neck strain would become a problem after 40+ hours a week.

I am worried about this as well. Glasses definitely aren't heavy enough to cause problems, plenty of healthy people wear those 80+ hours per week. But something like the Vive gives me trouble even after 2-3 hours.

Google cardboard + my phone gives me issues too. So I would think that the weight of a smartphone is the absolute upper bound on the weight of a product you are expected to wear on your head as a part of your workflow.

Headset's are getting much lighter. The new versions being made for MS are much, much lighter than the Vive.

IMO as a heavy user of VR whilst developing the critical problems for prolonged use are eye strain and heat. Neither seem to be about to be solved in the short term at least.

For standard VR experiences you move your head standing or seating, so a heavy headset is problematic. For development work you could lean back or lay with your head supported by a headrest, so the weight could be much less of a problem.

I would probably rig up a ceiling attached counterweight to cancel the weight of the headset.

Have you ever tried typing whilst wearing a VR headset? It's very difficult to find the right spot to rest your hands, etc.

Other than that, I totally agree.

BigScreen really opened my eyes to how productive we will be in the future.

That would be basically the matrix. Do you want to live in the matrix?

If I can leave, sure. The Matrix is the perfect I/O device.

Wont replace monitors, but you can do that now if you like. The main limitations are battery life and minimum font size (really pixel density on your retina).

That sounds awful. I can't even stand wearing sunglasses for an extended period of time.

Can someone explain to me how they can make a device worth buying for $200? That seems incredibly cheap since the cost of decent VR systems are ~$500+ and that's without a machine to provide processing/GPU.

It has no positional tracking so that already puts it within the "google cardboard" region of user experience quality (compared with the premium headsets)

I would guess it's closer to a Daydream or GearVR type experience. Which is a significantly better experience, even if it's roughly the same hardware as a "google cardboard" device. What makes it better is better sensor/OS/system integration (as well as good enough sensors and the right screen tech).

I know it has no positional tracking but Apple's ARKit and Google's ARCore seem to make it clear you can do positional tracking with only a camera on the device, no external sensors.

Has anyone announced any VR that uses the AR tech for positional tracking?

The accuracy of ARKit-style tracking is low. It’s mostly good enough for the use case where you hold a 5” window in your hand to peek into the AR world... But if you strapped it to your face, the latency and positional fluctuation would give you motion sickness very soon.

Yes, take a look at the Oculus Santa Cruz. It's still in development, but it has I think 4 very wide angle global shutter cameras on it. It is using a similar kind of Visual Inertial Odometry to things like ARKit and ARCore. Like the other posters have said, there is no way to get the kind of precision required for immersive HMD with a single mobile quality rolling shutter camera/lens setup and IMU.

Pavlov is correct, the tracking in ARKit and ARCore are just good enough for small mobile screens, and not good enough for anything immersive.

Windows Mixed Reality headsets use AR tech for positional tracking, but the MR headset tracking is made for a maximum of room-scale experiences (as opposed to hololens which can go multi-room).

>with only a camera on the device

Sounds like it's going to be slow compared to other methods.

A key to a good VR immersion experience is very low latency and high framerate.

I'm expecting the quality to be on par with gear VR. They should be able to cut some costs when compared to phone manufactors, since they don't need to support SIM cards, can use bulkier components and get the case "for free".

Low end components. The experience is not going to be anywhere near that of a PC tethered Oculus and it's going to be more of what you find on Daydream/Gear VR.

My only experience so far is Google Cardboard with an iPhone ... would you expect an Oculus Go to be any better than this?

(I know iPhone screens aren't high-DPI enough for VR, but I doubt a screen in a $200 product would be much better, and the processor/GPU would surely be inferior? I'd really like to get into VR at a decent price point, but I just can't see how this works.)

Daydream/Gear VR experiences are significantly better than cardboard. The Oculus Go is likely running a forked version of Android so that they can leverage their existing Gear VR catalog:


It's supposed to have a 1440p screen according to polygon. God only knows what "stand alone" means but the price doesn't seem totally insane. It simplifies it a great deal to take out the design constraints of a phone and the screens and processors (for basic streaming video over wifi) have been around for a few years now.

Still, it is surprising that the price would jump so far down from the price of a cellphone. I don't think it's a loss leader but I really doubt they have much of a profit margin. If that's the case this may be a bit of a gamble on VR being as massive as everyone (including myself) hopes it will be.

Since their mentioned that Gear VR and Oculus Go apps are binary compatible, I guess their definition of standalone is this one is work like GearVR + Samsung Galaxy Phone Built-in.


No 6 degrees of freedom support, which is arguably needed for a "true" virtual reality experience. This is basically Samsung Gear VR/Google Daydream but without using your cellphone for the display.

"Today, we showed the next phase of Santa Cruz development, delivering hand presence with two positionally tracked controllers. This is an important, industry-first milestone that brings the magic and incredible design expertise of Touch into a completely standalone experience."

How is this different than the vive controller?

Santa Cruz is a standalone headset. The content, headset tracking, and controller tracking all run on hardware that fits inside the headset. This stands in contrast to current PC VR hardware which requires PC, cable, and sensors (whether lighthouse beacons or rift cameras).

Santa Cruz is just the controllers and encompasses the tracking.

Santa Cruz includes the headset, because the headset does inside-out tracking of the controllers.

This is a stand-alone headset I believe - it doesn’t need a seperate computer to run

More importantly, it doesnt require external sensors (to the opposite of the vive controllers and headset which require the 2 lighthouse sensors)

It does require a separate graphics card, though requiring separate PC or console.

There need to be a place to dissipate that 200W+ of power current GTX cards are using, and this is not possible to fit it in kind of binoculars.

Thats marketing gimmick Oculus is doing: it does not require phone (as daydream does) but it does require graphics powerhouse to generate all the virtual reality (unless you don't want the world to be as in current AAA games which DO REQUIRE GTX kind of power).

No it's fully standalone probably using mobile graphics hardware which as noted by the Daydream etc. is already fine. It won't have the fidelity of the tethered versions but not being attached to anything is a tremendous win in terms of making the technology usable by anyone.

I don't agree.

Because this (not requiring PC to show VR) either means:

1) Oculus is standalone (not requiring nvidias/amd 200W+ 200USD powershouses) with comparable quality/features to what other (with PC) sets are doing currently


2) it is not standalone UNLESS you have much (and here I mean much!) worse quality

ad1: this would mean that Oculus did a great breakthrough (rendering price of nvidia stock overvalued tenfold - which we don't see) while also solving heat dissipation issue (look at your typical GTX card and cooling they require and POWER they require).

ad2: currently, AAA games do require powerhouse in graphics department, and they still have a lot space to improve (from visual perspective). For VR you need 90fps lowlatency dual(sic!) rendered graphics - this brings you either subpar quality (A LOT OF SUBPAR) - hence I concluded this "no pc required) marketing gimmick of Oculus. Yep, it may work, but not at the level (not even close) to other solutions.

I’m guessing because it doesn’t require the Lighthouse ‘tracking tower’, but they are not quite clear on what they mean.

That makes sense, I guess I'm just being pedantic

In my darkest days I feel like my job as a Software Engineer is to be pedantic to new ideas, because my work has trained me to be incurability micro oriented.

It's different from the vive controller due to not having external sensors, but its very similar to what Microsoft showcased with all their new touch controllers and inside out third party headset for Windows Holographic

Curious why a user would opt for this over a Google daydream given that it's near certain they already have a mobile device. Granted for iPhone users or mid/low end Android users with lower resolution screens it would be more cost effective than buying a mobile device with a good qhd screen.

Possibilities: * User has an iPhone * User has a lower-end phone that can't run this * User has a different phone OS (Windows Phone, Sailfish OS, etc) * User's phone doesn't have long enough battery life while running 3d apps

Mine would be “user doesn’t trust Google”

I don’t trust they’ll support it, develop it, focus on it, iterate on it, etc

and that’s without getting into trusting their ecosystem and privacy issues.

I trust google less than I trust almost any other large tech company.

"user doesn't trust Google but trusts Facebook" is a very slim slice of the population

As I said - that's without getting into the Privacy angles.

Facebook hasn't burned their trust in their support of their new products like Google has. In fact, if anything, they have a better track record for that (granted, via acquisition, but still).

I know many non-technical types that refuse to adopt Google's new products because they don't trust them to stick around. Outside of their core Google Docs suite they have a real perception problem.

The fiasco that was Google Glass hurt them too. Android support is... weak at best (and yes, that's not all Google's fault but they own the brand so they own the backlash).

They just aren't a company you can trust in their products.

Facebook killed Parse, so it’s not all roses

True, didn’t mean to imply that, but to be fair: Parse was much much less known as a product than glass/reader/wave/igoogle/buzz/talk/zeitgeist/answers... etc

Not having to surrender your phone to use it is a big motivating factor. Setup is much quicker, and when you're done with it you plug it in and go back to your (still charged) phone. Or, you know, you could let your kids use the headset and watch cat videos on your phone at the same time.

when i was working at fb, i specifically got a s7 as a work phone to use with gear vr to dogfood and i found the phone-insertion experience to be rather annoying. it was so annoying, in fact, that i would just leave my s7 in the gear vr and continued to use my personal phone, an iphone, for everything. the only reason i took it out was to charge it when it died after an hour of use.

i used to be deeply skeptical of the idea of these standalone vr units, but it's good to see oculus exploring it.

Because they already have an Andorid phone, but it isn't one of the expensive few that are compatible with Daydream.


Daydream quality compared to even the Gear VR isn't great. And here is a complete stand-alone system for $100 more -- it seems like a great deal.

Facebook. Although an open platform the goal here is to sell you advertisements. They can sell this platform much like a console. In ad revenue you could be worth the cost of the headset. They could give these things away if they wanted to own the VR gadget space forever.

And that's supposed to make me want to get this thing?

Of its tracking is true 6D -Daydream motion tracking lacks in few directions. One wrong move inside daydream and instant nausea for me for rest of the day. I.e. try moving your head laterally sideways inside daydream...

They cover this target group already with the Samsung Gear VR

But as you said. Not everybody has a 1000$ phone.

Google Daydream works with phones like the Axon 7 ($380) and the Moto Z ($450) as well as the original Pixel ($549). It hardly requires a $1000 phone. It just requires something with a resolution better than 720p (mid/low end Android phones and the iPhone for that matter).

Does Daydream immersion feel like your looking through a box like cardboard does due to the fov?

I guess this will be similar.

So I think that VR headsets (the real ones) do need to come down in price before they (and VR in general) can become mainstream, even though the technology is still quite not there yet, which means it will be hard to make such devices cheap while also upgrading their technology (or at least slow/er).

However, this isn't really what Oculus is doing here. This isn't a "cheaper version of Oculus Rift". This is an expensive version of Gear VR/any Android Daydream headset.

It has some extra sensors and whatnot, but other than that, it should play the same content. So how are most people going to understand the difference between a $60-$100 Daydream headset and a $200 Oculus Go?

At least the $600 headsets actually offer you a different kind of experience (realistic 3D games, etc), even though their price means they'll be relegated to an early adopter market for a few more years.

I don't even get who buys these cheaper VR headsets. I'm an early-adopter type and I can't see the purpose of Galaxy VR, Google Daydream or this new Occulus Go. I guess they are just like a $100+ novelty? At least the Vive (and to a lesser extent the Rift) are gaming hardware that can be put to use if you have a high-end tower, but the resolution and frame rates good VR requires need state of the art hardware to run any (albeit subjectively) interesting titles at this point in time. It seems to me like they are taking a product that isn't there yet and pushing it to market hoping to dupe consumers into spending money on a half-baked idea. Kinda like the push towards "tablet computers" in the early 2000's.

I get the same feeling when I see these products. I think they are targeted at the (surprisingly large!) segment of the population for whom their phone is their only computing device.

In the bubble that is HN, they make little sense, but I assume these companies must have done some kind of market research that indicates that these products actually drive demand in a consumer group that has basically zero overlap with ours.

I've considered buying a dirt cheap "VR" headset as I already have TrackIr[1] for 6DOF head tracking and the only games I'd use VR in (Racing/sim driving, sim aviation, spaceflight) use much more expensive external peripherals instead of touch pads and hands and are explicitly sit-down

[1] https://www.naturalpoint.com/trackir/

> I don't even get who buys these cheaper VR headsets.

A lot more people than buy the full-fat systems like Vive and Rift, that's who. Which would explain why Oculus is now focusing on that market segment rather than leaving it to OEMs like Samsung.

They also announced a new $400 permanent price for the Rift+Touch.

I have an iPhone, at least from that perspective it's a cheap version of the Gear VR.

Love it! Sure there will be gripes about the capabilities and the specs, but a standalone headset that doesn't require a PC or phone is pretty much the ideal form factor for VR.

It does require external powerhouse (PC) if you would like to have any decent(1) virtual world.

(1) all AAA games (working on the GTX 9xx or 1xxx) are still subpar to the reality, and they're disspating hundreds of wattage. It's not possible to put it into binoculars.

In many ways, the standalone headset is potentially much better for VR/AR. At least with regards to reacting to the user's movements. If the processing and display is close to your face, that cuts down some of the latency.

Now, yes, I know that at the speed of light (or more properly the speed of electrical signals) having a PC 3m away is only about 10ns, which is not going to be noticeable.

But there will need to be translation on each end to send a signal that far away, such as conversion to / from HDMI. If the embedded processor in the headset is directly connected to the LCD, that type of conversion eliminated. Ditto for cameras and other sensors needed for position tracking.

To reduce latency, developers are counting microseconds these days. Crazy.

What your describing is a non issue.

If you do something 10,000 time every frame that takes 10ns it's still only 0.0001 seconds and no you don't need to make that trip 10,000 times sequentially.

It's getting there.

Did they improve the resolution at all? As far as I remember, I was still able to see pixels and that spoils the immersion for me.

If anything, it will be worse.

The point of Oculus Go and Santa Cruz is to be untethered, and, if possible, cheaper than the Rift.

While it is undoubtedly a worthy goal, as anyone who tried a VR headset can tell you, it also means that you are letting go of the hundreds of watts computing power that a compatible PC represents. And without that power, it will be much more difficult to get the required latency, framerate and resolution.

EDIT : The Oculus Go is actually a little better than the rift : 2560x1440 vs 2160x1200, same FOV and supposedly better optics, so in term of not seeing the pixels, that should be better. The tradeoff is probably less details, maybe with upscaling.

That sucks. I wish they focused on best immersion quality first and optimize next.

It sounds like they claim making it untethered makes a big improvement to immersion.

I tried hololens, while I know it's AR not VR, the graphics sucked and it made the immersion much much worse than being on cable would.

They should first achieve something that hooks people in ways not done before even if it requires a 1080ti in sli + cable. Lowering the specs and/or quality of the final image is the wrong way to do it.

The market says otherwise.

In order from lowest to highest cost VR: GearVR, PSVR, Rift, Vive

In order from highest to lowest market share: GearVR, PSVR, Vive, Rift

Note that when Oculus lowered the Rift's price, sales dramatically increased. It is very clear that cost remains one of the primary barriers to VR adoption.

Oculus is approaching the market with a tiered strategy of low (Go), medium (Santa Cruz), and high (Rift) models at price points that maintain an addressable market large enough to create a viable software ecosystem.

Based on their sales figures and market research, they believe high price and insufficient content are the top two barriers to VR adoption. This is why they fund 3rd parties to develop quality content (since the market isn't large enough to recoup the development investment), and why they released Go.

An HMD requiring $1400 in graphics hardware alone (2x1080ti) might make a good prototype - a "concept car" or "super car" if you will - but not a good commercial product. Few would buy it, and it would be very hard to leverage its power to the fullest.

Of course market is susceptible to pricing. Of course $1400 is too much for wide adoption. More people buy vr at lower adoption and spec because they are curious. Worldwide sales have been reported to be very underwhelming, regardless of the price point. There is no killer use and feature for it, that's why. When there are features (immersion) the apps will come even if they make the first one themselves.

This is a bit OT, but: I live in Seattle and I would love to experience a top-end VR headset; tethered is fine. Are there stores that specialize in this? Where would/should I go?

There's a VR Arcade called "Portal" in Ballard that has padded rooms with Vive headsets hanging from the ceiling.

In my neighborhood, and I keep meaning to stop in. I just keep walking by because I am unsure what they are selling.

Both Oculus and Vive give demos set up in various retail outlets in the US:



ah, thank you. I don't do social media so it doesn't even occur to me that answering this type of question is actually easy =)

I'm pretty sure the Microsoft Store in Bellevue still has an HTC Vive set up for demos. There may be a couple people in line. I expect the other Microsoft stores have similar demo stations, you can probably call to verify if you don't want to cross the lake.

[Disclaimer: work at Microsoft but not in retail. I've used the Vive but not the store demo station.]

The original Rift required a gaming rig to run. I'm curious what kind of tradeoffs have to be made to launch this.

Personally, I'm not very interested in a VR headset being anything more than a display. This makes me feel like it is a Smart TV, which is not something I want. We'll see how I feel in the future.

Eventually this will likely serve both.

This is nothing more than say Samsung Gear VR but without a removable mobile phone

That said being able to use this anywhere as a personal display device as well as not being limited by the pretty heavy umbilical cord setup is the way to go.

If you are going to put wireless hardware in the headset it’s not like a mobile media player and a light application platform will detract from its value.

As an early VR adopter I can say that both my headsets ended up on the shelf after a few weeks.

It’s just too exhausting to play traditional games and with non-VR exclusive titles it’s actually a bit disadvantage in competitive play.

Mouse look and keybind reverse look beat a VR headset in sims and the UI for any titles but EVE Valkyrie is still better on a flat display.

Humans are not owls we can’t turn our necks at lighting speed and there is a reason why even 200M dollar jets have mirrors and now 360 camera coverage.

Games like Elite aren’t designed like an F35 they are designed around mouse look and being able to switching between 3rd and 1st person views quickly. Until some one will design a VR game with 21st century smart helmet augmented reality style interface in the game it won’t work well and even then mouse look would still likely be faster.

However the killer app for me was actually the home cinema app as well as some of the creative sandboxes. These don’t need my 1080ti setup and I don’t really want to be tethered to my tower.

I bought into Oculus with the DK2, but fell off once they discontinued support for Mac and Linux. It's a shame, really.

Is it just me, or does this image of three people laughing with one of them wearing a VR headset seem a bit bizzar?


We've already all but killed social interaction with smart phone addiction.

I can't think how many times I've seen a group of friends at a Starbucks not talking to each other and all looking at their devices.

But, at least, their actual faces are not covered by a huge mask with no way to look into each others eyes.

This picture makes me wonder about where this is all headed. For example, will there be a day when a group of friends are sitting around a table in Starbucks without the possibility of eye contact?

Edit: I'm not against VR I am just musing about what this ultimately means for all of us.

Not at all, have you ever used VR in a social setting? Every time I've used it has been in large groups full of people trying it for the first time. The first-time reactions are usually funny.

As for the eye contact thing, I dunno, but I envision these things as being more solitary devices, more like playing a game at home alone on your console. I always thought that was the market that would keep the industry alive.

" We've already all but killed social interaction with smart phone addiction. "

(Rolleyes). Yeah, uh-huh. We can all agree phones sometimes intrude in ways we wouldn't like but if you think they've "killed all social interaction" you need to find some new friends.

VR is certainly a different matter but humans fundamentally crave social interaction. VR won't change that. AI, eventually, on the other hand...

I wonder if this is a generational thing or a location thing. Over here in the UK my family went to the pub (3 families) to eat. The whole pub was mobile phone free. There were one or two on tables, but no one was looking at them, I guess they were there as 'phones' in case a baby sitter needed to phone.

I think your fears are fair. Though in that specific shot, this reminds me of times where with a single headset, we all take turns using it, and the others enjoy watching them do it. Though as a day to day device one wears, I do worry that it removes us from each other too much.

It's great they are getting something out the door today at a lower price with lower barrier to entry and less complexity.

That said this doesn't seem to support tracked controllers and it's not clear if it would ever support tracked controllers. It's VR, but VR without tracked controllers is almost a different category.

Still when you look at what it replaces (GearVR) it's a huge step forward. You no longer need to tie up an expensive phone that's going to overheat and have no battery left. You get lenses and a display designed for VR and positional tracking where previously there was only rotation.

It's also interesting that they are messaging nothing about a next generation headset you can tether to a powerful computer or console. That's where my interest lies. I would be fine with even just a refresh of the Rift with a better display and lenses. I'm not even looking for a bump in resolution.

> VR without tracked controllers is almost a different category

This is an important and under-appreciated point. Presence is a combination of many factors, and "hand presence," as Oculus is calling it, is a huge one. I still remember the first time I tried a Vive: I was already familiar with VR from the DK2, but interacting in 3D space gave the whole experience a wholly unfamiliar, almost dream-like sensation.

At this price point, tracked controller support seems unlikely, but perhaps a future Bluetooth lighthouse could enable it. Honestly, I think that should be a priority: if it comes down to more detailed graphics versus tracked controllers, I'll take the controllers every time.

Have you two clicked the link to the article at all? The second part is a release of wireless, tracked (from the headset, no lighthouses) controllers.

You may not have read it closely enough. With the caveat that the article is somewhat confusing in how it juxtaposes the two, the first part is about the entry-level, coming-to-market standalone headset (Oculus Go), while the second part is about the high-end, still-a-prototype standalone headset (Santa Cruz). The controllers are for Santa Cruz, not Oculus Go.

I was incorrect it's not 6dof it's 3dof.


So really it's just more mobile VR which I don't think much of.

Anyone know what the hurdles are for broad VR adoption?

This announcement seems to be saying it's 1) untethered and 2) $200 price point. Those will probably increase the current market size but I just haven't seen anyone (anecdotally) clamoring for VR. Curious if anyone has a view on other bottlenecks.

VR systems today are not used regularly by most people who own them, including even most people I know developing VR full time. Price point and being untethered doesn't change that.

I'd guess the biggest hurdles are physical discomfort with long term use, and that there isn't yet very compelling VR software.

A killer 'app'. Some experience that can only be delivered on VR that is totally compelling to mainstream consumers. That could drive the entire segment, I think.

I don't think its games. At least, it's not obvious how to turn existing kinds of games into VR experiences, and make them mind blowing. In my experience, VR games are not currently very good games, and are relatively lacklustre as tourist experiences.

So what? I wish I knew. But I just don't think there is a compelling reason for most people, even most passionate gamers, at the moment. Which, as a fan, pains me to say.

I recently picked up an Acer Predator X34 34" ultrawide 21:9 1440p monitor. And I have to say playing games on it is a lot more enjoyable to me than playing VR games on the Rift with Touch. Even playing simple 2D games like Stardew Valley is a great pleasure on this monitor. And modern AAA titles are a sight to behold.

VR technology is incredibly impressive, but a lot of problems that VR fans insist are easily solvable keep resisting nearly all efforts at overcoming them. Locomotion continues to be a huge problem that severely limits VR games. The third-person style of Lucky's Tale didn't catch on as it made too many folks feel just a little bit too wonky, if not completely motion sick. This means that on some level games like The Witcher 3 just can't be done in VR, and that's a tremendous hit to the medium.

I do think there's a future in VR gaming, but the current Vive and Rift will never be the vehicle of delivery. The price needs to go down and the convenience factor needs to go way up. I do think Oculus is going in the right direction with untethered headsets.

Do you think mainstream acceptance is inevitable, or do you think it could end up being like 3d is today? By that, I mean 3d has some hardcore fans and many of us seek it out occasionally, but it isn't part of my typical day.

AR is more interesting, especially if it can get to contact lens size.

> Do you think mainstream acceptance is inevitable

No. But that's not to say I don't think it will happen. And if / when it does happen, it will appear to have been inevitable (things tend to feel that way in hindsight)!

> do you think it could end up being like 3d is today

3D is a good analogy. Like 3D, unless there are some unique and only VR experiences, it will be a nerdy way of consuming content that is adequate (or even higher fidelity) on regular kit.

Lowering the price / making the form factor more convenient, can't hurt. But I'm not convinced that what the problem is at the moment.

When we talked to non-VR consumers (it's been a couple of years, but intuitively I can't imagine much has changed), the response was more "why would I want to put that thing on my head?", rather than "does it have to have a wire?" Price was a big turnoff, admittedly, but I fear a drop in price alone will simply mean it ends up in the 'barely used gaming peripheral' cupboard with your light gun, your dance mat and your steering wheel.

I would be very surprised if its success comes purely from being a peripheral used by gamers.

Being in the industry (AR actually not VR) and talking with customers and the average person almost weekly, the #1 barrier to HMDs:

"I don't want to put something on my face"

I agree. It's the same major factor that killed "3D" TVs - no one wants to put on special equipment just to watch a movie/play a game. I personally don't think headset-based VR will ever see mass market adoption in the same way that AR/MR will.

I would say form factor + input controllers + availability. Current headsets require way too much setup. High end headsets are tethered to beefy PC's that require a painful setup process(for most). The low end headsets require certain android smartphones(not every smartphone works with Oculus Gear or Daydream for instance and nothing works with Apple except Cardboard) and are also cumbersome to pair with controllers and place in the headset properly.

A standalone cheap headset is a step in the right direction, however something like Santa Cruz with 6DOF is when I believe more mainstream adoption will start occurring. Right now the most widely available headset is still Google Cardboard.

Input is making progress, but I continue to think using your hands would be the best option rather than any controller.

That depends a little on what you mean by broad.

To me, it feels like the hype around VR is starting to wane.

Right now, the hurdles are price, form factor, and motion sickness. I think last two problems are why broad adoption may never come.

I'm one of the people that can't wear them. The first ones I tried were in 1992 (the pterodactyl game) and after a couple of minutes, I was ready to barf.

Wait you only tried on in 1992?

I tried VR in the 90s as well and did get dizzy after 20 minutes or so. I have a Vive now and The experiences are completely different, worlds apart.

If I'm not moving through the surroundings, I last longer, but if my point of view is moving, I feel ill, even on modern headsets.

I believe there's still concerns around long-term usage, like the eyes/brain mismatch to focusing on something that's 'virtually' a few meters away, but in reality is in front of your face, which can cause nausea.

The fact that almost no one wants it?

Are specs cited anywhere? (e.g. resolution, battery life)

I feel like it was a missed opportunity not making this a mixed reality headset. VR is great for completely immersive experiences but otherwise becomes a nuisance. Problems I've had with VR:

1) Audiovisual Isolation. With immersive VR you are unable to interact with the real world and often unable to see or here what is going on around you. It always feels creepy to me to put on my VIVE and not be aware that someone has walked into my room or has been knocking on my door.

2) Very poor multitasking. VR experiences demand uninterrupted focus. I'm often not 100% immersed in whatever I'm doing at any given time. I will share my focus with other activities and other external events. I don't like having my focus locked onto a single activity for long spans of time. If I'm gaming, I'll probably alt-tab once in a while to send a chat message. If I'm watching a movie, I'll likewise pause or shift my focus if something demands it. There are very limited blocks of time where I'm willing and able to give a VR experience uninterrupted focus.

3) Inability to physically interact with real world objects. If you don't need to do that, that's fine. But what if you want to take a sip of your drink? Eat a snack? Have a smoke? When you have 0 spatial awareness, that is very difficult to do. Even putting down your controllers and switching to a keyboard is hard to do when you cant see where it is. You could just remove the headset every time you want to do this, but that's very cumbersome. This headset doesn't even have a fliptop so that makes it even more cumbersome.

All in all I'm not sure how much utility fully immersive HMDs have outside of some unique interactive experiences that are short enough to mitigate some of the above problems. Remember that "dumb" HMD displays (like this: http://www.siliconmicrodisplay.com/uploads/9/0/4/6/9046759/_...) have been available since the 90s. They were also billed as the future of entertainment and TV/monitor killers, but adoption never picked up for the reasons above. People don't like giving up all their focus.

That's why mixed reality headsets are more promising to me. If you can insert virtual windows/objects into real world spaces, you can introduce immersion without necessarily sacrificing awareness. Let people jump in and out of virtual reality without having it be an all or nothing compromise.

> awesome for watching movies or concerts, playing games, or just hanging out with your friends in VR.

I have real life for movies, concerts, and hanging out with friends, so that leaves games.

What’s the content offering like for VR these days? Are there any games that are more than a tech demo that lasts for a few hours? Something like a Skyrim or a Civ, that I will want to return to week after week?

Flight sims. Elite dangerous.

I think motion sickness might be a problem for some people though.

I don't see any earphones in the photos, how does it work for matching 3D audio? Does it have a headphone jack?

EDIT: Oh it says it right there in the article! That was a redundant comment... Reason I cared about is that last time I tried VR, the audio came from stationary speakers and it was a very weird experience to have the direction of the audio not match what I saw :)

"If you need it, there’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack for private listening."

The page says there is a 3.5mm jack.

I'm going to take a guess and say that this is running a forked version of Android. Oculus has a Gear VR store [1] and it only makes sense to leverage the existing software catalog than start from scratch.


As expected, looks like it'll be much closer to Gear VR than the Rift. It does not have positional tracking.

I was hoping to buy the current Oculus, but I never got around to it since I for one need to plan out a bit more when it comes to that price. At a $200 price point though, I can pick one up without having to think about it twice. I'm getting one when it comes out.

Interesting news! Will be looking forward to the specs and actual demo experiences.

Also, I wish they were lighter on the word "magic"...

Honestly I just want a Rift priced at $300 without the touch controllers (today, with touch controllers it's $400).

I got mine during the summer sale before they offered the all-in-one box. I got my HMD before I got my Touch controllers. Not having Touch was a huge limitation on the kinds of games I could use, and made the experience feel like a neato tech demo and not anything of substance.

You definitely don't want a Rift without Touch.

It's a little light on specs, but the price point is amazing for getting the broader community excited about VR.

This makes VR way way way more attractive to me - accessible and affordable. If VR will break through this seems like the product to do it.

The trouble with VR so far isn’t VR itself, because Vr is actually pretty cool, but the trouble is that it’s a giant pain to get into, both cost and set up and so on, it’s not currently reasonable to buy vr . This product seems like it could change that. Seems like a big deal to me.

What are the hardware stats on this Oculus Go? I can't imagine for $200 it's very impressive...

VR would be nice for shut-ins (infirm, imprisoned, remote, etc) to vector somewhere else.

Im curious to know if the Oculus Go will work with the touch controllers.

Positional tracking?

This looks cool

Sorry, but I'm really turned off of the Oculus Rift because of Palmer Luckey and Facebook. Gives me the creeps.

I don't think Palmer is part of Oculus any longer; I could have sworn he left earlier this year, or maybe last?

Facebook is still there, though.

Despite my being an early backer of the original Rift KS (I have the DK1 and the FB branded CV1 - both unused), I over Oculus' offerings, ever since they dropped Linux support. It was one of the main reasons I supported the KS to begin with, but then when it got big, they just decided our market segment wasn't worth supporting.

I will never, ever understand why hardware companies have such problems with this - I have yet to hear a truly convincing argument why hardware API specs can't be released to the community in order to allow them to create drivers - instead, the community has to go thru an arduous round after round of reverse-engineering the protocols and API just to get (at best) 2nd-tier support of the device (usually with buggy and/or missing results). It's been a huge pain with graphics cards, and now its continuing with VR headsets.

Also - why isn't anybody supporting or mentioning OSVR? There's another player in the headset market nobody ever mentions - Razer - who seems to be the only one who does support OSVR, yet their product is given virtually no coverage anywhere.

I don't know why that is, either.

Razer doesn't get mentioned because their product is not very good. OSVR is their proprietary API, and its an "open" standard in the same way OpenVR is. OpenXR, the Khronos standard for VR/AR/MR devices will be the industry standard API equivalent to OpenGL, but even OpenVR (Vive/SteamVR api) is a better option than OSVR currently.

come on now, embrace your inevitable future https://cdn.uploadvr.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/zuckerbe...

"Oculus, creating a 'rift' between humans at an affordable price."

This doesn't say shit about shit. What kind of media will I be able to interact in with Oculus? To me the value add to purchasing one of these is to be able to see those cool 360 degree videos on Youtube, maybe game, and I don't know what else so educate me! Reads like an "announcing the announcement" more than anything.

My guess is that it is going to be an all-in-one of what is currently GearVR. Can't remember the name of the app, but there's a Video application where you can watch 360 videos (there are also apps that have 360 videos from Disney and the like) and 2D videos in a virtual theater (the theater is a skin though, so can watch in other locations as well). I've also watched the Youtube 360 videos you mention I believe within an app on the device, or maybe it was via browser. Sorry, been a while since I used the thing (neat device, but not enough to maintain interest).

Personal experience: the video always looked grainy on my S7 Edge + GearVR headset. I'm kind of waiting for the next iteration of headsets of which I kind of think we're there with Samsung's Oddyssey or whatever (though really wanted LG to release that flip-visor headset they demoed as that'd be great for shifting between VR and real world without constantly taking off and putting on).

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