Oculus reportedly has plans to finally launch the VR headset it first premiered back in 2016, currently referred to as ‘Santa Cruz,’ in the first quarter of 2019 – according to unnamed independent sources. Moreover, a substantial amount of focus for the launch will be centered around content ported over to the new system from the Facebook-owned company’s more powerful PC-connected system, the Oculus Rift. Santa Cruz is intended to work entirely on its own without assistance from a computer or smartphone, which is something the Oculus Rift and co-developed Samsung Gear VR require. So it’ll be interesting to see how well those ports hold up and what experiences were able to be moved over. Regardless, that should mean that buyers will be able to play some great titles without being tied to a monitor or giving up their mobile.
In fact, the sources have also indicated that Oculus’ Santa Cruz will feature an ‘inside-out’ camera to allow for ‘boundless’ tracking. In effect, that means it will have a camera placed on the headset itself which faces outward in order to track the user’s surroundings. That means that using the Santa Cruz outdoors or in settings not typically associated with the use of VR may be a viable option. That most likely wouldn’t be the most common use case scenario for the average Santa Cruz user. However, it would make the VR headset nearly as portable as some less powerful standalone devices that are currently available without necessarily forcing users to give up a smooth or high-quality VR experience they’re expecting from Oculus.
Aside from the newly rumored features and being completely untethered, the new headset is known to feature 6DOF – six degrees of freedom – for more accurate in-experience head tracking. It will also tout new controllers based on the constellation tracking of the original Oculus Rift and using LED infrared on the controllers coupled with sensors on the headset. In the meantime, although the company hasn’t expressly said it would be revealing more information about the headset at the upcoming Oculus Connect 5 VR developers conference, it has taken the opportunity to show off progress at previous events. So it’s expected that this year’s conference, which runs from September 26 through September 27 will follow that same trend.