Oculus first announced that it was developing a high-end standalone headset, codenamed Santa Cruz, way back in 2016, and ever since there’s been great anticipation for the device which aims to offer 6DOF head and hand tracking with no reliance on external sensors or a host PC. A new report indicates that the headset could finally come to market in Q1 2019.
According to UploadVR, citing independent sources, Oculus is targeting a Santa Cruz release date for Q1 2019. It was known that the company planned to begin sending out Santa Cruz dev kits to developers this year, but they haven’t indicated any official information regarding a release date.
UploadVR also points out that the upcoming Oculus Connect developer conference is set to include presentations from the company aimed at helping developers understand how to port existing Rift applications to Santa Cruz.
Oculus launched its first standalone headset this year, the affordable Oculus Go. And while the Go is a lot like a standalone version of the smartphone-based Gear VR, Santa Cruz looks to represent Oculus’ first standalone headsets to offer the defining features of high-end VR headsets: 6DOF tracking for head and hands, allowing users to experience much more interactive games and content than the 3DOF tracking of Oculus Go.
Now that the release date window seems to have become apparent, the next big question is price. With the Go at $200 and the Rift at $400, what could Oculus reasonably charge for what amounts to a standalone Rift that doesn’t require external trackers, but has much less processing power than a Rift connect to a PC?
As ever, looking to competitors gives us a good idea of where things might fall. The two most comparable products available today are the Lenovo Mirage solo ($400) and HTC Vive Focus (~$525), though neither offer 6DOF controllers like Santa Cruz. Our bet is that Santa Cruz’s price will fall somewhere right between those two, though we’d surely love to see it much lower!
We expect to hear fresh details about Santa Cruz next month during Oculus Connect. Stay tuned!