Facebook's Oculus Go democratizes virtual realities
No more cables or computers or even smartphones, the oculus Go, totally autonomous, is perhaps the headset that will democratize virtual reality. Facebook announced its commercialization during its annual F8 conference, held in early May 2018 in California. This headset offers a new dimension to virtual realities. No need to be in a room specifically equipped for this purpose, it becomes as easy to explore virtual worlds as listening to music on a walkman. So why not use it in any place, or even in public transport. Facebook is also counting on this headset to create new markets and new consumption habits. Indeed, if virtual reality headsets are most often dedicated to video games or the exploration of virtual worlds, the Oculus Go is intended for more conventional uses. Even if the idea of a video game is present, it could even act as a “video walkman” to watch TV or movies.
This desire to take the Oculus Go out of the” ghetto of gaming enthusiasts ” is the result of a study carried out around the virtual reality headset market. It must be noted that, so far, it stagnates or, at least, to much difficulty to take off. This is explained by three main trends that emerge from the study. In the first place virtual reality headsets are difficult to use and require a heavy installation. Second reproach: they are often adorned with a wacky design that can even harm their comfort of use. Finally their price is considered prohibitive by many potential customers of virtual realities. The designers of the Oculus Go therefore relied on this observation to design their new concept. For Mark Zuckerberg, famous Facebook executive, the expectation of users is not to put on a helmet to believe that an imaginary world is materializing. This technology must also be able to improve our everyday lives. The goal of this approach to the problem is to attract almost two billion new users to this technology. In addition, it must be simple, equipped with good ergonomics and accessible.
Free yourself from heavy equipment.
To have a total autonomy, the headset contains all the electronics and digital circuits essential to the reproduction of a virtual reality environment. It offers 3D vision, which takes into account the head movements of the wearer of the headset, and sound from mini speakers. Wearing traditional headphones is no longer essential to enjoy a realistic sound environment. Note that the computing power of the Oculus Go is not lagging behind that of advanced smartphones. According to its designers, it is enough to run computer-intensive video games with good fluidity and more than enough to ensure HD video viewing in excellent conditions. The only phase where the Oculus Go requires the use of a smartphone concerns its first use. It is essential to download a small application for free to configure it.
On the design side, the oculus Go gives in sobriety. Nevertheless his lines are well thought out. A” spreader ” is even available for wearers of glasses. By inserting itself on the fabric covering of the periphery of the case, it prevents the glasses from bumping against the lenses of its optical unit. However, it is also necessary to have a simple, ergonomic and effective means of interaction. For this the Oculus Go is accompanied by a small remote control that looks like a mini gamepad. It has a touch area, two pushers and a trigger. It can be used not only during game sequences but also to select its choices in menus. It’s a bit like when on a TV the user navigates to the NetFlix home screen.
A studied price.
Finally, the price of the Oculus Go has been particularly tight. It comes in two versions that are distinguished only by their memory capacity. The basic version, offered at € 219, has a memory of 32 GB. The 64 GB version, for its part, is marketed at 269 €. A price much lower than that of an Oclus Rift, for example, which in its early days cost almost €600. Let’s specify that to achieve this budget goal, and also get rid of the usual infrared terminals of VR headsets, the Oculus Go must make some concessions. The main one concerns the movements of its wearer. Indeed, if the set of accelerometers it contains perfectly analyzes his head movements, it is impossible for them to quantify those of the whole body. If, while sitting in a sofa, the user has every opportunity to orient his gaze in all directions, it will not be possible for him to move while walking to explore a virtual world.