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Can the $200 Oculus Go make virtual reality mainstream?

Facebook wants to take virtual reality mainstream, and it hopes its new headset, Oculus Go, could be the product that...

Posted: May 1, 2018 5:35 PM
Updated: May 1, 2018 5:35 PM

Facebook wants to take virtual reality mainstream, and it hopes its new headset, Oculus Go, could be the product that helps makes that happen.

The Oculus Go is Facebook's first standalone headset. It's sleek, it's comfortable, and, most importantly, it costs just $200. Most VR systems cost at least $500.

The standalone device makes for a more seamless experience than the flagship Oculus Rift or other high-end VR systems. It doesn't need cords, an expensive PC or a specific smartphone.

The headset is made of a breathable mesh fabric, has a vibrant display and built-in speakers, so you don't have to use headphones.

It even comes with a special eyeglasses spacer, so I could play comfortably with my glasses on. Soon, you will be able to order special prescription lenses for the headset for $80.

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The interface is easy to use, even for someone who isn't a frequent VR user like me. You can browse Facebook, watch 360-degree videos, play your favorite Netflix shows or buy 3D movies. It's comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.

Overall, the visuals were smooth and crisp, although some of the 360-degree videos I watched -- especially those taken with smartphone cameras -- were lower quality.

Social will be an important part of Oculus Go. The company has revamped its Rooms app, which lets people make a custom environment and create an avatar of themselves. Oculus owners can invite their friends to visit their room, play tabletop games such as Boggle, watch movies together or share photos from their phone.

Facebook is also emphasizing its Venues feature. You can watch live events, such as Major League Baseball games, stadium shows from artists like Vance Joy, and standup events like Gotham Comedy Club. I wasn't able to test this feature -- the first live event won't happen until May 30.

The Oculus Go has plenty of room for improvement. Its library of 1,000 VR experiences pales in comparison to the near-infinite amount of content available on smartphones or gaming consoles.

Another potential drawback is that the Go has a so-called "3DoF" controller, which can only tell if you move your head up, down or side to side. More advanced VR headsets have 6DoF controllers, which offer a more immersive experience and cut down on motion sickness, according to analysts.

The battery life could also be a problem. Oculus says you can expect about one hour of battery life for gaming, and about two hours for watching TV or other entertainment. The Oculus Rift doesn't need to be charged, because it's plugged in to power.

Related: Facebook finally makes a virtual reality world

Virtual reality hasn't yet taken off with consumers. Only 4% of internet users around the world owned a VR headset at the end of 2017, according to analytics firm GlobalWebIndex.

Is the Oculus Go enough to fuel consumer adoption of virtual reality? Experts have mixed opinions.

"I don't think all of a sudden [this device] will change the market," said Victoria Petrock, principal analyst at eMarketer. "It may move the needle in terms of moving the technology toward something that is more mainstream. The fact that it doesn't have to be tethered to anything is a big plus."

Anshel Sag, -an associate analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, was more upbeat.

"I really think [Go] will bring VR much closer to the mainstream, if not kick off the beginning of mainstream usage for VR," he said. "At $199, it's a very palatable price for a lot of people."

The Go's success could ultimately come down to the content. If developers can deliver valuable and entertaining experiences, it could be an appealing gift for the 2018 holiday season.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 513622

Reported Deaths: 10264
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34892556
DeSoto33234432
Hinds32638641
Jackson24854389
Rankin22507403
Lee16337242
Madison14922283
Jones14113247
Forrest13766259
Lauderdale12270324
Lowndes11305193
Lamar10659140
Pearl River9719244
Lafayette8846143
Hancock7836132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7210138
Monroe7010179
Pontotoc6990109
Warren6863178
Panola6759134
Neshoba6730210
Marshall6678141
Bolivar6445151
Union638297
Pike5928156
Alcorn5879107
Lincoln5530136
George510180
Prentiss503884
Tippah491482
Itawamba4844107
Scott477899
Adams4768125
Tate4756116
Leflore4729144
Copiah456495
Yazoo456491
Simpson4546117
Wayne443072
Covington433695
Sunflower4299106
Marion4277112
Coahoma4237109
Leake413990
Newton395781
Tishomingo383593
Grenada3777109
Stone365866
Jasper340666
Attala338290
Winston317892
Chickasaw315467
Clay312278
Clarke301195
Calhoun285049
Holmes271889
Smith269052
Yalobusha243947
Tallahatchie231553
Greene224749
Walthall221666
Lawrence218740
Perry213456
Amite209857
Webster205348
Noxubee188742
Montgomery181657
Carroll174541
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152939
Kemper145041
Choctaw136727
Claiborne134338
Humphreys131239
Franklin125529
Quitman107628
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96934
Sharkey65221
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 845284

Reported Deaths: 16116
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161552006
Mobile742111380
Madison53307732
Shelby38338368
Baldwin38085589
Tuscaloosa36022641
Montgomery34492781
Lee25562263
Calhoun22586518
Morgan22459406
Etowah20018517
Marshall18782316
Houston17731425
St. Clair16884358
Limestone16148218
Cullman16054303
Elmore15904294
Lauderdale14989306
Talladega14196299
DeKalb12972269
Walker12030380
Blount10717192
Autauga10517157
Jackson10162194
Coffee9417192
Colbert9342208
Dale9020191
Tallapoosa7256201
Russell708165
Chilton7018170
Escambia6957143
Covington6933195
Franklin6342108
Chambers5784142
Marion5406130
Dallas5285209
Pike5119109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
Geneva4642136
Bibb434094
Barbour369580
Butler3435100
Marengo342493
Monroe337266
Randolph334867
Pickens333188
Fayette330385
Henry320666
Hale318389
Cherokee317863
Crenshaw260477
Washington257052
Cleburne254460
Lamar251453
Clay250869
Macon244864
Conecuh192862
Coosa185047
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152645
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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