Budget-Minded Oculus Go Makes An Appearance At GDC 2018

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Facebook has taken the opportunity provided by the 2018 Game Developers Conference (GDC) to show off its new Oculus Go VR headset and to reveal some of its specs. Although the standalone headset has been publicly known since at least October, the showing gave visitors a better understanding of what the package is comprised of. For those who may not recall, the headset works similarly to others built for use with smartphones. However, they differ in the fact that no smartphone needs to be placed inside. Instead, the Oculus Go has its own hardware, screen, lenses, and audio components. Perhaps best of all, it’s expected to hit the market at only around $200. That’s as compared to some of the more pricey sets that will become available over the course of 2018 for upwards of $400.

At that cost, it might be expected that Facebook’s Oculus division would have to make drastic cuts to the hardware itself. However, aside from lacking six-degrees of freedom – opting for a somewhat less accurate head-tracking referred to as three-degrees of freedom – there doesn’t appear to be much to dislike about the offering. For starters, the new headset actually beats out the much more costly Oculus Rift with regard to screen resolution, setting the bar at 1,280 × 1,440. That’s a significant boost that should be particularly useful when watching VR media with the device. With that said, things are only made better by improvements made to limit the dreaded “screen door effect” often caused by VR headsets, which results in visible lines between pixels. Moreover, the company has opted for built-in stereo sound, as opposed to requiring headphones or using mono audio. A standard headphone port is included for those who prefer that listening method. The included controller has some upgrades as well, featuring a top-facing touchpad, motion tracking, triggers, and buttons for easy control of media or games.

Meanwhile, Facebook is reportedly all set to show off its latest VR experience again at the upcoming f8 developer conference – which will start on May 1. That push for publicity makes a lot of sense since VR has still not managed to find its way into the mainstream and the cost of Oculus Go is expected to be so low. With any luck, the use of multiple events to put the word out about its standalone, budget-friendly hardware will help drive the technology further into the public conscious – and more directly as something that isn’t necessarily out of reach for everyday tech users.