Facebook announces standalone VR headset

Best Black Friday VR deals

Facebook has never disclosed sales figures, but based on announcements at today's annual Oculus Connect event, it's still searching for the right combo of features and price that will make Oculus a hit.

Facebook has invested heavily in virtual reality hardware in hopes the technology, which offers a 360-degree panoramic view of faraway or imaginary spaces, will move from a niche interest to a widely used platform for gaming, communication and business applications. That's a big drop from the Rift, which originally sold for $599 and required a PC costing at least $500 to become immersed in virtual reality, or VR.

The bundle comes with a Rift VR headset, a pair of Oculus Touch controllers, three facial interfaces, dedicated customer support, and warranties.

The hints in the video below suggest some sort of military shooter, which is not usually the sort of thing that works well with VR.

A lot of people may ready this slash as an insult to the industry, but they shouldn't. If you are using a headset somewhere you feel safe, such as at home or in a auto, perhaps, VR can make you vulnerable. It also includes built-in speakers that provide spatial audio, along with a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. While the headset is a standalone product, developers who are making apps and games for the Samsung Gear VR (which uses Oculus tech) will be able to port those apps to the Oculus Go. This means it should be able to run all existing Gear VR apps and games without modification, and since those are all created to run on an Android-powered Galaxy phone, it seems very likely that the Go runs some form of Android.

Last July, Bloomberg had reported that Facebook was working on an affordable wireless VR headset that "everyone" can afford.

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Facebook and other major technology companies such as Google and Microsoft that are betting on VR have a long way to go.

Nonetheless, the Pacific virtual reality headset will be up for grabs for only $200.

"We believe Oculus Go will be the most accessible VR experience", Barra said. "Opening up more of those experiences to more of us - that's not isolating, that's freeing". The biggest competitors in the PC VR space is Facebook's Oculus and HTC's Vive.

The Oculus Go is very portable, especially compared to the Rift.

Former Google executive Hugo Barra now oversees Facebook's VR operations. Developers can even debug their VR apps while inside them, using Visual Studio, Unity, and Unreal. Games themselves are also likely to enjoy discounts, so check out Steam and Green Man Gaming.

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