Oculus cut Rift price, announce standalone Go headset

Oculus GO

One of those newfangled windows into cyberspace just got a bit cheaper, with the Oculus Rift (bundled with its motion controllers) now priced at £399/$399. That’s down from the previous $499 price point, and effectively makes the summer sale a permanent deal.

They’ve also announced the Oculus Go, a self-contained VR headset.

They bill Oculus Go as “a totally new phase of VR Hardware”, though you can take that with more than a pinch of virtual salt. You won’t need to plug it into a pc or even slot in a mobile phone, with the wholeshabang packed into the goggles themselves. It’ll release at some point next year for $199, and you can read all about how high-resolution, lightweight and soft it is here. It’ll be compatible with Gear VR, meaning anything that gets produced for one system will work on the other.

I’ve always felt that the brand of VR offered by Oculus pales in comparison to the HTC Vive, with room-scale VR being much better at convincing me that I’m actually being transported to another place. It is much pricier though, and I can see the advantages of having a completely untethered headset. You can already get that with Gear VR if you have a decent phone though, so the Oculus Go will have to look considerably better if it wants to compete with the existing headset.

Oculus have also announced a substantial software update for the rift, which overhauls the UI and makes the Home – the virtual equivalent of a homescreen – more customisable. Here, have a gander for yourself:

They’re both part of the Rift Core 2.0 update, which will release for free in December.

29 Comments

  1. Bull0 says:

    I really enjoyed poking around with GearVR, and then my phone broke and I forgot I needed a Samsung in order to use it and bought a Huawei. Whoops. If this cheaper unit replicates the GearVR experience sans samsung phone I might get one…

    • snv says:

      But then your investment would be already halfway there to get a proper VR device _with_ hand trackers…

  2. Tiax says:

    Bought an Oculus during the Summer Sale, the technology still needs to evolve quite a bit, but while it might not be *the* future of gaming, boy do I enjoy playing some of its better games. The touch controllers are a joy to use.

    Robo Recall feels so polished, fun and kinetic in a way to even arcade booth can’t equal.

    Lone Echo has incredible graphics and HUGE outdoors environments with no loading time at all, as well as a very smart movement system. The multi-player component is also great.

    SUPERHOT VR is also great, although I find Robo Recall a more intense experience.

    Currently I’d say that if you can afford it and are interested in this new tech, you should get one at this price. You will probably play it a lot less than your regular PC games, but what you’ll experience will definitely be worth it, and you can sell the device in a few months if you get bored of it.

    And get a third sensor, I can’t stress how essential it is. Don’t buy an Oculus without one.

    • snv says:

      Do not buy it right away, would be my advice.
      I did get the third sensor, because i wanted a “proper” setup and now i find that i mostly prefer games where i am sitting and facing the same direction anyways.
      Roomscale games are fun and impressive to offer when somebody wants to give VR a try, but it’s games Elite Dangerous, Dirt Rallye or SPAZ2 where i spend long hours under the Rift.

      Considering that the next generation from oculus is supposed to have inside-out tracking, the whole camera-setup hassle seems wasted.

  3. Premium User Badge

    CrackedMandible says:

    Not that I’m an expert VRer, but I’ve found the Rift’s room size VR to be pretty functional with two sensors and the touch controllers. The controllers have a blind spot if you block the sensors, but I’m told that’s fixed with a third sensor. I’ve never felt the need to get it though.

  4. Jason Lefkowitz says:

    You can already get that with Gear VR if you have a decent phone though, so the Oculus Go will have to look considerably better if it wants to compete with the existing headset.

    I actually don’t think this hurdle is as high as it might appear. Gear VR requires not just “a decent phone” but “a decent Samsung phone,” which narrows the audience of potential users considerably. And as someone who has a Gear VR, I can say that the biggest hassles of using it all centered around having to plug my phone into it — the process of inserting it is pretty fiddly, the phone tended to overheat pretty quickly and need to be pulled out again, scratches and smudges on the phone’s screen could result in distortions of the VR image, etc. Having the display hardware built into the headset could take all of these annoyances away, and since Oculus Go isn’t that much more expensive than Gear VR it wouldn’t be hard to recommend it to people who want a cheap-and-cheerful VR experience but don’t have a Samsung phone.

  5. Kefren says:

    “I’ve always felt that the brand of VR offered by Oculus pales in comparison to the HTC Vive, with room-scale VR being much better at convincing me that I’m actually being transported to another place.”

    I got a Rift in the sale and it does room-scale VR just fine. I have one sense on top of a unit, the other (detached from it’s stand) from a handy hook. I may get a third one day but, actually, two seems fine.

    I have hardly played on my normal PC since then. Instead I have an hour or so every evening stood up in my living room rather than sat at the same desk for the evening too (I work from home and sit there most of the day!) I love being able to do things like draw a weapon by just reaching to my side and grabbing one, being able to shoot guns in two directions whilst not looking directly at either target, and so on. Also playing normal games like Amnesia and Doom 3, but in VR. Instead of looking at a window, I am through the window, and actually in the space. I was sold on the idea already though, after trying out the Vive in a local experience shop a number of times.

    • Herring says:

      It’s a bit trickier for larger spaces with the Rift as the cameras need to connect to your PC with USB. In a large room that can be tricky. It’s a lot easier with the Vive as the Lighthouses just need to be connected to local power.

      It’s a niche case, but if you like Roomscale you want the biggest area you can manage :)

      • snv says:

        The active usb extension cord you get with the third sensor has quite a reach.
        Even though i took a detour to route it to the ceiling first, it still can go far enough that not the cables but the size of my room is the limiting factor.
        When i took the hole shebang to some event where we had the space of a conference room the cable length was not a problem either. We were reaching the maximum distance the sensors are supposed to be spaced from each other easily

  6. rondertaker says:

    RPS i love you but please stop spreading the lie that the rift doesn’t do room scale or do it well, for an extra $50 to add a third sensor it performs amazingly, ive had no problems enjoying almost every major room-scale VR experience available to date using my rift, as well as used it to run a pop-up vr demo using entirely standing and room scale titles. this lower price, plus the better controller design, makes it kind of a no brainer if you’re trying to decide between rift or vive right now.

    • Pace says:

      Yes, exactly.

    • Herring says:

      I agree. The only caveats are for larger rooms (see above) and I found it a bit more fiddly getting the coverage right with the cameras compared to the Vive.

      Another semi-problem I have is that depending on how your room is organised optimal room-scale camera setup could be different to your seated set-up. That’s the case for me, though seated seems to work mostly well with 1 camera.

    • shaydeeadi says:

      Yeah, I don’t have either but there are youtubers that have been doing roomscale VR on the Rift for a long time. The way the Vive got shoehorned into the article felt like low effort product placement.

    • Premium User Badge

      MajorLag says:

      I disagree. I’ve tried both the Rift and the Vive and personally felt like everything was just a bit more jank with the Rift. I can’t exactly pin down why, things just felt off much more often.

    • cafeoh says:

      I’ve spent about 3 hours in a vive and around 200 in an Oculus and the Oculus hand tracking is slightly less accurate than the Vive, but I’ve also been playing with a 2 sensors room scale setup. Other than that it’s perfectly fine. I love the lighthouse technology that Valve came up with and I’ve been ranting about how clever and modular it is, but until they come out with better controllers (which is personal ofc) and match the Oculus’ price, I can’t recommend the Vive over the Oculus. I agree that sensor setup is fiddly, especially if you don’t want to buy a third sensor. You can get a really great setup with only 2 sensors but it’s gonna take some work, thankfully there are tools that help with that if you really want to get optimal coverage.

      After getting my Oculus I got so impressed by VR gaming possibilities (won’t lie, the most lacking thing with VR atm are the games, not the technology) that I decided to work on my own project and since it’s using pretty much every waking hour, I don’t have time at all to play any games on it anymore. That’s really my only regret.

  7. Imaginary Llamas says:

    I find it a tad odd how much emphasis a lot of VR articles put on room-scale stuff. Sure I guess it’s a natural progression from seated/standing experiences, but flight/space sims and similar games are a perfect fit for VR. If you’re like me and don’t actually have enough space for room-scale VR, there’re still plenty of awesome games to try out.

    Saying that, the inital Oculus setup assumes you have room-scale space. That was tedious compared to the Vive, where you can specify you only have seated/standing space.

    • Chaz says:

      Yep, spend about 90% of my VR time playing seated games like Elite etc. I have plenty of standy up roomscale stuff, but to be honest after a long day at work I’d much rather be sat down. I only seem to bother with the roomscale stuff on the odd weekends now.

      With the Rift setup, if you just want it setup for seated, you can just “forget” the touch controllers in the device list, and then it’ll setup for standing/seated only.

  8. Cederic says:

    It would be lovely to hear about the gaming credentials of the new Microsoft Mixed Reality headsets coming from the traditional vendors.

    They’re cheaper than the Rift and look to offer features it lacks, and have full Steam VR support. But are they any good?

  9. Halk says:

    Is a new version of Oculus coming early next year? Can’t decide buy now or wait? Or take Vive because i’m a steamaholic? I try VR at friends house and it’s not perfect, but totally excited experience for gaming.

    • Herring says:

      If you mean an update on the Rift they said not before 2019. As the Vive follows an “open” standard there’s updated SteamVR headsets coming out before then though they won’t be Vives per se.

      The Microsoft MR headsets are SteamVR compatible too and they’re coming out over the next few months.

    • DLFReporter says:

      I’d say wait for the Christmas deals. I bet they’ll slash the price by another 50$-100$ and then it’s a real steal. :)

      • snv says:

        Good advice. I got mine when the price dropped for the first time at the last black friday.

        Maybe you find my reasoning helpful:
        I chose the Rift because of the superior touch controllers, it is supposed to be more comfortable to wear and to have better optics. Steam has even better controllers in the works, but they will not be available for some time yet. Their tracking is supposed to be more precise and is less hassle to set up but it is also significantly more expensive.
        Also i had the chance to try out an Oculus set-up in a store, but found no Steam VR-Setup anywhere.

        Oculus is making noises to drop the sensor cameras for their next version, so if you take the effort to get those, maybe some wall mounts, extension cord, an extra USB-Card, setting all of that up… that all is probably only useful for the current generation.

    • emertonom says:

      If you’re going to wait and see, the one I’d keep an eye on is Pimax. They’re releasing some new headsets with Valve lighthouse tracking and controllers, but with a higher resolution and a 200 degree field of view. Sounds more immersive than Rift/Vive’s 110, which kind of feels like ski goggles or something. Reviews of the prototypes have been good, and the retail versions should be out next year. (They’re claiming everything by May, but that’s a kickstarter date claim, and in my experience those inevitably slip.) Don’t kickstart–wait for reviews. But I’m cautiously optimistic.

  10. TotallyUseless says:

    Would Oculus Go work with Euro Truck Sim 2 and Elite Dangerous?

    • DLFReporter says:

      Unfortunately no. As has been said above, Oculus Go is basically a vendor free Smartphone fully integrated into a GearVR Headset with controllers.
      If your phone could run ETS 2 or Elite, then perhaps, but with the current gen hardware I doubt it. ^^

      • Snids says:

        Although if I can stream to a steambox almost lag-free. Why not the go? WiFi, I suppose.

        • snv says:

          Translation tracking is really important.

          When you can only turn your head, but not move it sideways, lean forward and so on, it really feels weird fast. And you do move your head around all the time even if only a tiny amount.
          Even turning feels strange, because your eyes (and the rest of the face) swivel around your neck. So turning always also includes a little bit of “strafing”. All that is missing in 180/360° Videos for example and is distracting.

          This is part of the reason why i think all those cardboard/gearvr setups are doing VR a disservice. People try those and get woozy and think that this is a common VR problem, but the actual reason is that they are using a significantly inferior device.

        • emertonom says:

          The problem is that “almost lag-free” for typical games means something like 100ms lag–only noticable in the most timing-sensitive games. For VR, it’s a totally different ballgame. VR aims for 20ms or less, and nearly gets there when plugged directly into the computer (22-25ms motion to photon). Adding 100 to that would be utterly nauseating.

  11. DLFReporter says:

    “…I’ve always felt that the brand of VR offered by Oculus pales in comparison to the HTC Vive, with room-scale VR being much better at convincing me that I’m actually being transported to another place. …” You may feel that way, but as has been said above, this statement is unfortunately very outdated. I’ve been running a 2 Sensor setup with the Rift on a 4x4m² play area and have only noticed glitches when I manage to occlude both sensors with my body or at the very edge of the play area and at the furthest points from both cameras.