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In its continued effort to take virtual reality mainstream, Facebook has announced Oculus Go – a standalone headset that will be released in 2018.
Mark Zuckerberg said the device, priced at $199, would be the “most accessible VR experience ever”.

Sales of the company’s VR hardware have been slow since launching the first Oculus Rift headset in March 2016.

“If VR doesn’t go mass market at this price point, I think we can conclude that it never will,” said John Delaney, an analyst with IDC.
The existing budget way to get Facebook’s VR is the Samsung Gear VR at $129 – but that requires a high-end Samsung smartphone in order to work.

Speaking at Facebook’s yearly virtual reality developers conference in San Jose, Mr Zuckerberg acknowledged the slow adoption of the technology to date. But he said his company’s goal was that one day, it would get one billion people into VR.

To get there, the company needs to create a premium, standalone VR device that offers free movement. It hasn’t managed that yet – the new Oculus Go should still be regarded as a budget VR experience.
But the company’s new head of VR, Hugo Barra, also shared more details about Project Santa Cruz, Facebook’s prototype high-end device that will offer movement-tracking without the need for tethering to a computer, or the placing of sensors around a home.’Too crazy or complex’
But the future of this massively-hyped technology is unclear.
Mr Zuckerberg opened the conference with an admission that virtual reality was still some way from being a mainstream product. In an effort to reassure developers working on expensive VR projects, he insisted this was typical of all big new ideas.

“A lot of them seem maybe too crazy or complex at the start,” he told delegates.
“Some people say that VR is isolating and anti-social. I actually think it’s the opposite. We all have limits to our reality. Opening up more of those experiences to more of us – that’s not isolating, that’s freeing.”

Throughout 2017, Mr Zuckerberg – who has repeatedly said he’s not considering a run for president – has travelled the US, meeting regular Americans.

Project Santa Cruz is a high-end, premium headset with movement tracking“A lot of the places I have visited don’t have the same economic opportunity as we have here [in California]. Enabling us to be present anywhere, creates opportunities for people everywhere.”

However, many think those opportunities will come from augmented reality, rather than virtual. Augmented reality is when digital images are placed over the real world in front of you.

The leader in this area is Microsoft with its Hololens product. It too suffers from expensive hardware and low adoption. But once the technology improves, some believe it might offer a great deal more than VR.

“I think one of the problems with VR as a mass-market proposition is that you’re unaware of what’s happening around you in reality,” said analyst Mr Delaney.
“So you’ll only wear one of these things in situations where you feel secure about that. Largely, for consumers, that means only at home or in the car [as a passenger]. So although VR can be connected to mobile networks, it is not really mobile Read More
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