“The honeyed spot.” It sounds like that’s going to be VR’s new focus, as we conduct into Oculus Connect’s fourth annual iteration. And what is that honeyed spot, exactly? Not mobile VR, not PC-based VR, nonetheless a mix of both. No wires, nonetheless a same high-fidelity knowledge people get from a Oculus Rift.
That’s still substantially a ways off, nonetheless Oculus took a initial stairs in that instruction during Connect, announcing a new $199 Oculus Go headset, and giving us a initial demeanour of a arriving “Santa Cruz” antecedent with inside-out position tracking.
Let’s puncture in.
Oculus Go revealed
Oculus Go is flattering easy to explain: Imagine Samsung’s Oculus-based Gear VR headset, nonetheless yet wanting a apart phone to energy a experience. That’s it, really.
And unequivocally that’s all Oculus needed. The $99 Gear VR is a good square of hardware, nonetheless a assembly was always singular by a pool of people who possess a concordant Samsung Galaxy phone. Oculus Go broadens that assembly significantly, and during $199 it’s set to be one of a cheapest VR headsets on a marketplace when it releases in early 2018—and nonetheless wires tethering we to a PC.
Oculus Go also includes built-in audio, that is a clear alleviation over Samsung Go. It’s not a same oversized on-ear headphones found on the core Oculus Rift, nonetheless there is support for spatial audio and a speakers demeanour like they’re built into a headband. I’ve come to count on built-in audio for VR—its preference trumps a fealty (but combined clumsiness) of apart headphones.
Now, possibly a knowledge will be as good as PC-centric VR? No way. The arrangement is a bit better, entrance in during 2560×1440 compared with a Oculus Rift’s 2160×1200, nonetheless this is still mobile VR during heart. Oculus even rammed that indicate home, announcing that Gear VR apps will be concordant with Oculus Go, regulating a same control schemes.
It’s also value observant that Oculus Go doesn’t embody position-tracking for possibly a headset or controllers—like Gear VR, this is head-tracking only. That means no room-scale, nor even a pseudo-room scale/standing knowledge we can get with a simple Oculus Rift + Touch package.
As we said, it’s a Gear VR nonetheless a need for an combined phone. That’s unequivocally a good play for broadening VR’s audience, nonetheless we’re still articulate entry-level.
Oculus Santa Cruz
Then there’s Santa Cruz, that Oculus has deemed “the future” of Rift. Santa Cruz is a betrothed land, essentially—a standalone headset with a energy of a Rift (or during slightest a Rift tethered to a low-end PC) and inside-out position tracking. It’s arrange of like a mix of a Rift, Gear VR, and Microsoft’s arriving line-up of Windows Mixed Reality headsets.
First, some bookkeeping: Santa Cruz is still unequivocally most in a antecedent phase, with dev kits sets to go out someday subsequent year. That’s about all we know though. Expect a full launch in late 2018 or even 2019 during a earliest.
Aside from being wire-free, Santa Cruz does make some improvements over identical systems—particularly Microsoft’s headsets. When we checked out Dell’s arriving Windows Mixed Reality headset, we remarkable that palm tracking was quite buggy. By regulating usually dual cameras, Microsoft’s headsets remove lane of your hands any time they’re out of your evident executive vision.
Santa Cruz uses 4 cameras, not two, and places them around a fringe of a headset. Tracking is still strong in front of you, so this is positively not as seamless as a bottom hire complement used by a Oculus Rift or a HTC Vive. Santa Cruz does lane your hands when we strech adult above your conduct though, for instance, as good as out to a sides a bit.
It’s tough to contend how most you’ll notice a moments it doesn’t track—after all, your hands would be roughly behind we during that point. We’ll need to get some hands-on time with a section to exam that functionality. Hopefully we can do that here during Connect today, nonetheless we’re not certain nonetheless possibly those prototypes are here on a uncover building or not.
Oculus also redesigned a Touch controllers to work with Santa Cruz, that competence help. The vast ring that used to go over your knuckles now protrudes above a thumb, presumably to assist tracking as we pierce your hands out to a sides or down to your waist. The new controllers also supplement a touchpad, a la the Vive—no warn there.
Santa Cruz looks promising, during slightest on paper, nonetheless we haven’t gotten any word on specs, lenses, or any of a hardware executive to creation a PC-quality knowledge in a mobile form factor. We’ll refurbish we as shortly as we know more.
And that’s it. No, really. If we were anticipating for a modernise of a tethered Oculus Rift, well, you’re going to be watchful a while longer. Hell, with Santa Cruz on a setting and Facebook’s “1 billion people in VR” pursuit, we competence never see another cost and PC-centric VR headset from them again.
On a and side, Oculus Rift got a permanent cost drop today. Yes, another. It’s now going to be sole for a special $399 cost Oculus tested out in a Summer of Rift graduation this year. Sounds like that cost did good for Oculus—the HTC Vive is still $599, that is a huge anchor around their neck during this point.
That’s it for Oculus Connect 4’s hardware news. Stay tuned however—we’ll be here all day checking out demos of both hardware and software, and will refurbish if there’s anything quite revolutionary.