Facebook planning $200 wireless Oculus VR headset next year

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If Facebook manages to produce a cheap and decent-quality VR headset that doesn't require a smartphone or computer, it might gain a competitive advantage over all the other companies that are making VR headsets.

When going live from Spaces, you'll have a virtual camera you can position anywhere in the room. The new $200 wireless Oculus VR headset is based on Snapdragon platform and work with PCs and smartphones, via Wifi we assume.

Bloomberg said the device's codename is "Pacific", and it is a more compact version of the Rift that will be lighter than the Gear VR. Oculus is also rewriting the download store, so that it is natively accessible from the device. This panic that I described has quickly been proven out in a new report posted today by Bloomberg.

Facebook's 2014 Oculus acquisition was the subject of a high-profile lawsuit. "So finding something with the potential for mass penetration is a priority, especially with Rift's bumpy past". In the first quarter, hardware makers shipped 2.3 million of the devices, according to IDC, compared with 347 million smartphones. The new headset is expected to ship sometime in 2018.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request to confirm the reports. For the rest of the summer, the Oculus Rift and Touch bundle will cost just $399, which is a $200 discount from the usual price.

IDC's latest report on Worldwide AR and VR headset shipments has Samsung in the lead with the cheapo Gear VR.

As a regular Facebook user, it'll definitely take some adjusting to the notification about your friend going Live on Facebook, clicking it and realising they're streaming their VR avatar of themselves.

Facebook wasn't immediately available to comment on its VR plans, but told Bloomberg that it was "making several significant technology investments in the standalone VR category". The headset, code-named Pacific, will be similar to headsets like Samsung's Gear VR and Google's Daydream View but will not need a phone. It will be interesting to see what Facebook does, that is for sure. The headset will have Oculus branding everywhere except China, where it will feature Xiaomi branding and will come with some applications made by the Chinese company.

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