According to a report by Bloomberg, Facebook is working on a wireless, standalone VR headset said to target the $200 price range. Citing “people familiar with its development,” the report reveals the Oculus-branded headset, code named ‘Pacific’, will ship sometime next year.
The headset is said to be more compact than the company’s PC VR headset the Oculus Rift, and lighter than Gear VR, Samsung’s mobile VR headset that accepts a number of flagship Galaxy phone variants including the new S8, S8 Edge and S8 Plus among many others. While the headset is still in its design phase and features aren’t finalized, the report says, there’s no denying the appeal to a high-quality mobile VR experience at such a low price point.
According to Bloomberg’s unnamed sources, Oculus plans to partner with Xiaomi, one of the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturers, to produce the new Oculus-branded headset for global distribution. A custom variant featuring Xiaomi branding and software will be produced for the Chinese market.
Oculus head Hugo Barra came to the company early this year, working previously as Xiaomi’s Global VP.
A Snapdragon mobile chip from Qualcomm is said to power ‘Pacific’, reporting that its gaming power is “superior to that of the Gear VR,” but will not include positional tracking technology. Bloomberg reports that the new headset will have a similar interface to Gear VR and will be controlled by a wireless remote. Samsung and Oculus co-introduced a Bluetooth controller to the Gear VR mobile platform back in April, consisting of a trackpad, a few buttons, and the ability to sense rotation which allows users to interact with the virtual world using their hand instead of the headset-mounted touchpad.
Oculus provided the following statement to TechCrunch via a spokesperson:
We don’t have a product to unveil at this time, however we can confirm that we’re making several significant technology investments in the standalone VR category. This is in addition to our commitment to high-end VR products like Oculus Rift and mobile phone products like Gear VR
The news comes hot on the heels of Oculus’ recent price drop of the Rift, bringing the headset to $400 including Touch, the platform’s motion controllers.
The story is breaking. We’ll update as more information comes in.