VR has been one of the most popular and successful immersive video game formats over the past ten years. So with the recent release of Oculus Go, how could that winning formula be changing for the better?
12 hours ago, Oculus revealed online the designs for the new Oculus Go. The next step up from the Rift, the new VR headset was given a clean aesthetic makeover, an innovative re-modelling and an entirely user-friendly repurpose, and is set to be one of the ‘consoles to watch’ for 2018.
But what do we know about Oculus Go?
Separating the Go from the Rift are several key design features, specifically designed for user-driven interactivity. The standalone VR headset will be completely wireless, and can function entirely independently from any PCs or additional hardware needed to operate previous systems.
In terms of content quality, the console is fitted with the ‘best lenses’ available from Oculus, with the standard 360 degree video being upgraded into higher clarity and colour, for the most immersive experience possible. A fast-switch LCD screen, and high pixel fill-factor contribute to a reduced external glare, meaning as many traces of the ‘outside world’ as possible have been filtered out. The headset itself is designed to be lightweight and easy to wear, with breathable fabrics and adjustable straps for long-term use.
Even more immersive is the audio, with integrated speakers built directly into the Go headset, for users who want to play their favourite games without the restriction of corded headphones. Yet there is a headphone jack for those who prefer the direct audio contact.
Overall, it’s a stylish and carefully thought-out model, just ready for the modern VR player.
So how exactly is it a game-changer?
Whilst the creative and innovative design features of the Go make for a marketable USP, in terms of actual gameplay, the new console actually has a lot more depth when it comes to user engagement.
Removing the need for wires, headphones and weighty accessories means that the headset can become almost limitlessly mobile. This gives the player the freedom to move around wearing the headset, and walk freely without the fear of unplugging a vital cord. The ability to leave your monitor or modem, and explore the different floors, corners, corridors of your house gives an added level of immersivity, which previous headsets haven’t really explored.
The close contact sound also offers a new level of immersive gameplay, with the noise of video game contact appearing more direct and impactful than ever, providing that mental stimulation to continue playing the game.
The comfortable and breathable fabrics used in designing the headset are interesting from this perspective as well, as the user is clearly intended to use the console for a significant amount of time to make the most of the comfort. Overall the headset is seemingly intended for an audience of long-term gamers, a new demographic of those who intend to use, wear and play their VR games for days, rather than hours, changing the standard short-burst play typically seen in VR and AR gaming.
Perhaps the most game-changing aspect of the Go, however, is the cost. At the surprisingly affordable price of £199 from the direct retailer, this brings the Go console into a whole new sector of low-price and accessible VR interactivity. The once exclusive and ‘luxury’ VR experience is now ready to become a household feature, like the Xbox or the PS2, available to more than just the pro-gamers. In contrast to the Oculus Rift, which is now priced at £399, it’s clearly aiming to be the budget-friendly option in the VR tech sector, with it’s early release in 2018 already stacking up pre-orders from across the globe.
A low-cost, long-wear and family friendly VR experience is a long awaited addition to the virtual gaming community, and it’s no surprise that Oculus took the brave step forward into this new demographic. But how many ripples could this rock make in the technology sector, and just how much budget-friendly tech can we expect to see as a byproduct of this revelation in 2018?