Panasonic brand Shiftall has revealed the latest prototype of its MeganeX VR headset. Along with the updated design the company has shown off a SteamVR Tracking module to add precision tracking to the headset, along with support for Valve Index controllers. The company says it will be showing off the latest design at the AWE Europe 2022 conference, though it seems the headset may no longer be standalone but rather built for PC VR.

The Shiftall MeganeX VR might have a terrible name but it’s certainly an interesting looking VR headset. Promising SteamVR compatibility, inside-out & outside-in tracking, a high resolution 2,560 × 2,560 (6.5MP) display per-eye—purportedly at 120Hz with HDR support—all in an impressively compact form-factor… it’s a wishlist of impressive features in a PC VR headset.

While only time will tell if the headset is as impressive as it sounds on paper, Shiftall appears to be moving closer to a release despite the headset being delayed from previous estimates of a Spring 2022 launch.

The company has revealed the latest prototype of the MeganeX headset, including the first look at a SteamVR Tracking module that mounts on top of the headset. Shiftall says this will allow the headset to optionally use external tracking in place of its own outside-in tracking solution.

The short demonstration video surely doesn’t look very promising, with clearly jittery tracking, but hopefully this will be tuned up to the standards expected from SteamVR Tracking before the headset’s release.

The company says the final design of the SteamVR Tracking module will have a cleaner look with covered sensors:

Image courtesy Shiftall

Shiftall also confirmed the headset will include an adapter that will not only connect the SteamVR Tracking module, but also add support for Valve Index controllers. And given the interoperability of the SteamVR ecosystem, we expect that means anything that can connect to a standard SteamVR adapter will also work with the headset (ie: Vive wands or Tundra trackers).

Those who have seen prior iterations of the headset will notice the removal of some ‘wings’ on the outside of the lenses, which helps make the headset look a little more compact and goggle-like.

Image courtesy Shiftall

Standalone No More?

Curiously, when the Shiftall MeganeX was first announced the company said it could be used standalone thanks to the addition of a Snapdragon XR1 chip. However the latest info we’re finding on the headset mentions nothing about standalone capability, and instead points to this being a purely tethered VR headset. We’ve reach out to the company for clarity on this front.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Max-Dmg

    I keep reading it as Shitfall lol.

    • Charles

      Elder Scrolls VII: Shitfall

    • Jistuce

      Same.

    • John Grimoldy

      Scrolled immediately to the comments to make that same statement. Horrible naming.

    • Gonzax

      Same here xD

    • That’s all I can think after seeing it.

      • Max-Dmg

        hahaha

  • Sofian

    It totally ruins the cool design, shitfalling apart.

    • ZeePee

      Not sure how you can complain when:

      1). This is an optional add-on – I would have thought having the option of lighthouse is something to celebrate, rather than condemn?

      2). Even with this optional add on, it manages to retain the fact that its a generational leap ahead in form factor compared to any of the current full on face masks that we have had since 2016, including the other pancake lens headsets that are just releasing.

      Think you should direct your cynasism elsewhere, this headset is groundbreaking so far and the most exciting development in form factor that we’ve ever seen – but some people are unreasonably hard to please. You can go back to wearing your 1kg helmets if you like.

      • Bob

        The form factor is indeed something quite special. If it can dazzle users upon real world testing then Panasonic may have something potentially disruptive here. Even more so than the Meta Quest Pro considering the form factor and design alone. Factor in the OLED panels as icing on top.

        The only concern here is software which Panasonic are not known to be particularly good at. An alternate reality would pair such a device with Meta’s strong software engineering capabilities to create a very enticing VR product.

        • Yami

          Panasonic is not the ones making the software Shiftall is.

        • Mradr

          Yes and no.. while I say its a step forward… have to keep in mind this is only for PCVR not really Mobile VR. In that. Mobile VR takes more space either in the front or back because of the extra cooling. If you ever open up a VR headset you will notice they’re pretty close to being the same already with today VR shell more for looks and or to house the other cameras/cooling/SOC.

        • ViRGiN

          lmao. ‘competition is always good’ much? this device is already flopping. nobody gives a shit about it, outside neckbeard redditors getting excited about anything supporting forever-abandoned lighthouse tech.

  • ZeePee

    Would we not be able to use index controllers without this headset tracker?

    Cool if you want lighthouse headtracking, but I’d probably just stick with the inside out tracking if it’s good enough, coming from a two camera Samsung odyssey plus which itself works perfectly fine.

    Would love to use index controllers with it though.

    • kontis

      Do they even offer controllers? If not, steamvr tracking will be necessary to use Index or vive controllers.
      It also makes it perfectly compatible with full body tracking (vive or tundra trackers) without any resyncing and drift mitigation shenanigans that people with Quests have to do.

      The point is: there is a real demand for steamvr tracking adapters for inside-out headsets and I’ve seen it requested a lot, usually by vrchat players.

      • andres Sanchez

        We don’t know.

        Originally the MeganeX headset was supposed to come with Electromagnetic VR Motion tracking Controllers, but despite showing up in a lot of descriptions of the headset, were never actually seen or demoed. We don’t know if those controllers are still planned, will still be included or what.

        Hopefully we find out more info this Wednesday at AWE.

        • ViRGiN

          > Hopefully
          ah yes. the motto of futirists excited about everything but meta.

          • Cless

            Do you… have to do everything about Meta?

          • ViRGiN

            There is no VR/XR/AR without Meta.
            Why everything has to be about options that offers nothing, just promises fukaton?

          • Cless

            There was vr before meta, and there will be vr after it. The hell you are on about man? If you said oculus, then sure, even if still wrong I would se the logic, but Meta? Come on.

          • ViRGiN

            Oculus is Meta now, wheter you like it or not.
            And no, there was no VR before Oculus. Maybe you want to perform ‘achktually’ VR existed since the 50s?

          • Cless

            Oculus is dead, there are like 4 employees from the original days in, and the toxic Facebook culture is completely permeating it, like almost always happens when a bigger corporation buys a smaller company. There is no oculus.

            If instead of being bought by Fb, oculus had disappeared, we would still have a vr industry. Most likely smaller, but about the same most likely.
            The fact you say otherwise is honestly, laughable and showing some ridiculous levels of fanatism.
            Should I reconsider my statement from the other day that Facebook isn’t paying you to post here? Because damn man.

          • ViRGiN

            steamvr only exists becasue gabe newell got personally butthurt about a teenager becoming ultra-wealth over night.
            it does not matter how many original employees are there in the company. palmer have done nothing right after facebook acquisition – he was just a funny awkward guy constantly spilling the beans that games HAVE TO be made from ground up, instead of ported. that mindset set back VR for years. other guys like brendan were sales people – he could barely use VR at all, he was getting extremely motion sick no matter the content. after leaving oculus, he joined sketchfab and he continues his lack of interest in vr – to this day there is no proper support for VR in sketchfab. their mobile app is completly abandoned. oculus with original team would achieve nothing. VR is the place for ultra big corporations to dominate – you aren’t making the next computing platform in your garage or with your silly 2.5 million from kickstarter.

            the lack of any competition absolutetly proves that. you have a lot of “options”, it all serves to create an illusion of choice. either you choose right, or you choose fail.

            i could say facebook is paying me and you wouldn’t believe me.
            i could say facebook is not paying me and you wouldn’t believe me.

            you have made your opinion about me long before i even said anything.
            ya’ll funny.

          • Mradr

            Uh not correct – Lenovo and in the China market they did have VR already.

          • ViRGiN

            Again, who cares?
            The TRUE, REAL VR began with Oculus.

            There is more competition in hoverboard industry than anything VR related.

          • Mradr

            Lenovo had VR/XR before Meta… just saying

          • ViRGiN

            XR was a thing on smartphones before steam was even a thing. Just saying.

            Who cares? Nobody developed for it, it has lass than zero reach to anyone. What XR are you even talking about? Passthrough on Mirage? lol

        • ZeePee

          The CEO was pretty clear and adamant earlier this year that the headset will include controllers.

          It’s actually the main reason why there’s been a delay this year.

          They were choosing between two methods for the controllers – perhaps the “wings” the headset previously had was related to one of the types of tech – perhaps the electromagnetic one?

          Now they have removed the wings, that would signify they dropped that and went with the other choice.

      • ViRGiN

        Day 763, still waiting for ANYTHING proving “vive or tundra trackers” supports body tracking. WHERE IS THE GOD DAMN FULL BODY TRACKING SDK for developers?

      • ZeePee

        The Meganex will indeed come with controllers included – that’s ultimately what has delayed the headset this year.

        Back in February, the headset itself was basically ready, but they were still developing the controllers.

        Unless they state otherwise, this is still the plan.

        My guess is they perhaps feel less confident about the controllers, and so are making sure they offer lighthouse support right out of the box so people can use index controllers if they wish.

        We’ll see at AWE Lisbon. Expect there to be controllers revealed.

        It was announced back in February that the whole package, headset and controllers, will be around $900.

      • Yami

        No they gave up on controllers thats what I heard anyway.

  • ViRGiN

    what’s the point of even showcasing clearly broken tracking?
    looks like ARPARA in the making, shipping demo units with NOLO tracking lol

    • Alexander Sears

      Prolly 3DOF in the end

  • XRC

    “The short demonstration video surely doesn’t look very promising, with clearly jittery tracking, but hopefully this will be tuned up to the standards expected from SteamVR Tracking before the headset’s release.”

    Adapters are compromise, limit placement of optical sensors; impact tracking across certain poses.

    Only 3 sensors visible across entire front facing aspect, yet over concentration across sides? The square edge casing is less than ideal should be broken with facets containing sensors.

  • Christian Schildwaechter

    Shiftall MeganeX VR, the Negasonic Teenage Warhead of VR HMDs.

  • Tommy

    I need more info.
    FOV?
    IPD Range?
    Subpixel layout?
    Audio?

    I say I need more info but $900 before even adding the controllers is way out of my price range.

    • Charles

      Also, binocular overlap. Several recent headsets have been ruined by neglecting this spec.

      • ZeePee

        I keep hearing about this but not sure what it is, why is it important?

        • AS

          It’s known as the interocular field of view. Close one eye and look over the bridge of your nose, the immersive experience is drastically reduced if you can see past the edge of the screen.

          • ZeePee

            Ah cool I see, thanks.

        • Charles

          It causes the edge of one of the displays to be visible as a “ghost image” in the middle of the view, and it greatly reduces how much depth the world appears to have (how 3D it looks).

          There was a good RoadToVR article on this years ago:
          roadtovr / understanding-binocular-overlap-and-why-its-important-for-vr-headsets

        • Charles

          It causes the edge of one of the displays to be visible as a “ghost image” in the middle of the view, and it greatly reduces how much depth the world appears to have (how 3D it looks).

          There was a good RoadToVR article on this years ago:
          roadtovr / understanding-binocular-overlap-and-why-its-important-for-vr-headsets

          There’s an online spreadsheet comparing FOV specs of the various headsets, including binocular overlap. Do a websearch for “VR HMD Rendered FoV”, or for the Google Docs identifier “1q7Va5Q6iU40CGgewoEqRAeypUa1c0zZ86mqR8uIyDeE”.

          The spreadsheet doesn’t include the Varjo headsets. From what I’ve read, they have the worst-of-the-worst binocular overlap. There’s a Reddit post where they discuss this – do a websearch for “my_review_of_the_varjo_aero_coming_from_the_pimax”.

    • ZeePee

      $900 including controllers.

      Though the exact numbers are unannounced, the FoV should be around 95 degrees, perhaps more.

      That’s both based on the capability of the pancake optics they are using (Kopin 95 I think), and the CEO’s comments earlyu this year.

      The CEO mentioned that the FoV was similar to Quest 2. He said maybe a bit larger vertical FoV and a bit smaller horizontal, but very similar.

      • Tommy

        95°? That’s not very good. Headsets coming out now should be a minimum of 110-115°. I would prefer 120+ but I know that’s just not doable for some HMDs.

      • gothicvillas

        if the FOV you claim is correct then its absolutely terrible news. Dont they understand we are fed up with tiny FOVs? Its getting really annoying to read all the VR news and FOV mentioned is from 95-110. Anything below 120 is garbage.

        • Yami

          Any higher than that wouldn’t really be possible since it ises 1,3 inch panels. Just get Pimax or some of the HTCs latest headsets.

          • Mradr

            Its really not that tall of a ask from companies like meta and others to start moving forward with FOV. One of the ideas of going to flat lenses was to allow more FOV in the first place.

  • Bob

    “purportedly at 120Hz with HDR support

    Doesn’t the device use pancake lenses which is notorious for dimming down the brightness? If so, I’m wondering how it can be capable of HDR when brightness, or luminance, is a potential limiting factor here. Companies often conflate WCG (wide color gamut) with HDR which I predict is the case here.

    • ZeePee

      I assume the micro-oleds they are using are capable of HDR.

      Just how effrective it is in practice remains to be seen. But hey, if the brightness is at least as good as other headsets, I’m happy.

      I am used to the great brightness of the Smasung Odyssey Plus though, just an amazing headset.

    • Hymen Cholo

      Pancake lenses do reduce brightness, so panels need to be very bright to compensate. The problem with the standalone HMD’s is that you can only increase brightness so much before battery life is severely shortened so they have to compromise. A tethered headset like this won’t have that limitation.

      • Bob

        Good point. A tethered connection would technically provide “unlimited” power to the headset which essentially removes the brightness limitation.

        It’s also the reason why the Pico 4 is known to be somewhat less vibrant and brighter than the Quest 2 when used standalone.

        • Hymen Cholo

          I just got the pico actually. Don’t have a problem with the brightness. Going back and forth, the Quest is marginally brighter but also flatter because of the gray blacks. The blacks in the Pico are better which gives it higher perceived contrast, so it really doesn’t seem darker at the brightest setting.

  • Cless

    2.5k resolution, oled and hdr with light house tracking? Sign me up!

    • Andross

      you are goddamn right sir.

  • Kevin Brook

    Super sceptical about this headset. The specs read exactly like what a newcomer to the VR space would want to offer to sound impressive to consumers, but the delays and seeming abandonment of standalone and now offering a dongle option for lighthouse tracking suggests to me that pre production is not going well, and that they are realising it’s harder to make good VR headset than you think.

    I’ve bought enough headsets now over the years to pretty much only feel confident in buying from Meta or Valve moving forward.

  • Peter K

    Shitfall Megasize VR

  • It’s a bold design… and potentially silly name. I can’t see this not having a poor field of view. You’re literally looking down a barrel.

    Beyond that, it has the same issue as many of these of these goggle-only headsets, No Hand Controllers! They always seem keen on handing off (pun) this extremely important facet to others like it’s no big deal.

    You don’t ship a laptop and make the keyboard optional. How many times have you been to a car dealership without any tires on hand? Or a cellphone without batteries?

    It’s just lazy! Why go to the effort of making a cool headset and drop the ball entirely on the controllers?

    • Rogue Transfer

      Because they found out doing controller tracking wasn’t trivial, and delayed the project release by 6 months because of that. Ultimately, we see now that they are going for a tried-and-tested approach with marker-based, inside-out SteamVR controllers and Lighthouses.

      In a sense, a VR headset is like a monitor for a PC box. PCs are often sold without a monitor and vice-versa. We’re moving into an era for VR where interoperable controllers could become the norm. For another example, take the new Quest Pro/Quest 2 markerless, inside-out controllers without tracking rings. In theory(though, probably not in practice, because Meta don’t support an open platform for other hardware), these could be used with any headset, via their Bluetooth connection, as they do all the tracking onboard the controllers.

      Standalone VR headsets, like Pico 4/Quest 2 with headset & controllers, are like laptops, where the monitor and keyboard come together.

    • Yami

      It has a little bit more FOV than Quest 2 has.

  • Nicole

    What?

  • Mike EY

    The lightest HMD with a steam punk design that you could sit on a desk as art…

    How many features would you trade to have that?