Oculus finally figured out ways to get consumers excited about virtually reality: This just had to take a little bit of assistance from the late Steve Jobs.
The company introduced its initial standalone virtual reality headset, the Oculus Go, during its developers meeting on Wednesday, pricing it with $199. Â
Jobs, the originator and former CEO of Apple company, identified $199 as the “magic” cost for consumers back in 2005 using the iPod Mini and continued this in 2008 with the introduction from the iPhone 3GS (yes, I know, that’s not keeping track of subsidies).
The strategy had been so successful that, for a time, just about any other smartphone on the market was offered by the same, magical price.
Why is $199 such a good cost? It’s not super cheap, but truth be told, it appears to trigger a response within consumers.
Ask them to pay out $300 or more for cutting-edge technologies, especially something as unproven because virtual reality that still needs more costly hardware to work, and they balk (Oculus sold just 355, 000 Oculus units in 2016). But established a sub-$200 price, even only a dollar below that threshold, plus consumers are ready to take the leap.
Apple wasn’t even the first to find out this magical price point. Back in 2002, the very first iRobot Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners were priced at $199. 95. Although they’ve since gotten a lot more costly, that initial magic price point assisted launch a robot vacuum market.
Just Go and do VR
This $199 magic price, although, will only get Oculus so far. Another key to the potential success associated with Oculus Go is that it’s a self-contained system.
Unless you’re the gamer, virtual reality has been a tough cost consumers who are put off by the additional costs and complexity of most VR systems.
Samsung has accomplished some success with its Gear VR headset, which was developed with Oculus, but it also often sells the $99 headsets as a bundle with its a lot more expensive Galaxy smartphones. This is sensible since the headsets are useless with no phones.
Even the more effective Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are inoperable husks without effective PCs to back them. And when you go that route, setting up a program like the Vive, which requires wall-mounted trackers, is a bridge-too-far for most customers.
Microsoft’s self-contained HoloLens headphones lower the complexity, but are usually priced in the thousands and only offered to developers and businesses. In addition, they don’t do full VR. Actually Microsoft’s more affordable Mixed Reality Headphones that can handle immersive experiences require Windows 10 PCs to function.
Oculus Go simultaneously solves both price and complexity issue. Â
There will, naturally, be limitations to what Oculus can offer for $199. For example , the included controller will simply track one of your hands with a built/in accelerometer, and the headset can’t monitor your hand movement in space. Likewise, the motion trackers in Oculus Go will probably be fewer and much less precise than what you can get within an Oculus Rift. In addition , the Oculus Santa Cruz prototype, a potential no-compromises, standalone VR experience, is waiting around in the wings. But that head-set is years out and will possibly cost more than $199.
I have a feeling that consumers is going to be pleasantly surprised by the Oculus Go encounter. Â
Not vomit machines
As an industry leader, there’s no way anybody at Oculus will accept anything lower than an immersive and comfortable VR experience. They can’t afford to unintentionally avoid frame rates or head-motion monitoring and risk users feeling upset. Bad Oculus Go experiences might mark a swift end towards the company’s new product line.
As I see it, the Oculus Move and Oculus Rift are on various development paths. The already-in marketplace Rift must be adjusted from the outside. Oculus makes incremental changes that preserve compatibility with systems and a constant usage experience for those who’ve currently adopted the platform. The price on Rift continues to drop because Oculus can be achieving efficiencies on the components aspect and, maybe, because they’ve furthermore reached enough scale to disseminate costs.
Development on the Oculus Go uses what the company currently learned about integrating the screens (note how the Go matches and enhances upon the Rift’s LCDs â? it has Â WQHD 2, 560 by 1, 440 LCD lenses) plus motion sensors inside the Rift, yet lets its engineers start from scrape on how they integrate all of it.
My guess is the level of digesting power inside the Oculus Go is going to be on the high-end of the Qualcomm Snapdragon line with lots of RAM and battery-life to back it up. The visual encounter could also be quite good because Oculus gets to integrate the screen. This will significantly cut down on the parallax that many people experience when they use their particular smartphones as their VR screens. Simply no phone also means the headset might be lighter and more comfortable to wear.
The core benefit of a stand alone Oculus Go, though, is that the entire VR solution is in one box. Which makes it more like your phone. A solution you are able to pick up and use instantly.
Oculus Go might even help Fb CEO Mark Zuckerberg achieve their crazy one billion social VR user goal. Think about it. How most likely are you to try VR social media if you know you have to put your telephone in a headset or hook it up to some powerful PC? Exactly. But if doing social VR is as easy because initiating a FaceTime call, a lot more people might give it a try.
If Oculus Go is as good when i think it can be and maintains the $199 price point, we are about to see the dawn of a new period in VR, perhaps the precise instant when its virtual promise lastly becomes a reality.