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Report: Oculus to announce $200 standalone VR headset this year

Oculus Shift

Facebook is planning to unveil a $200 (£150-odd) wireless Oculus VR headset later this year that you can use without connecting to either a PC or a phone, according to a Bloomberg report.

The new headset, codename "Pacific", will be a fully standalone product. So you'll be able to take it out of the box, strap it on your head, and start playing games and watching videos. That means it will have some kind of built-in display, which would be a first in the space.

Bloomberg are quoting "people familiar with its development" for the story, and say the new device will aim to bridge the gap between the Oculus Rift – which still requires a beefy PC to run – and the Samsung Gear VR, which you slot your phone into. It will be like a "more compact version" of the Rift, Bloomberg says.

It will be out next year, but some of the features are apparently still being decided. Facebook has begun briefing developers about the product, Bloomberg reports, in order to have games ready to go when it launches. It won't have position-tracking technology, which means it won't be good for moving around virtual spaces – just turning your head.

It's not wholly unexpected: last year Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said there was a “sweet spot” for a device that sits between the Gear VR and Rift.

There's still a lot of unanswered questions (will you be able to separately hook it up to your PC to play games, for example?), but it is interesting that Facebook are making a move into a new part of the VR market.

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