Facebook’s Oculus has a second, cheaper VR headset planned for next year

Tim Maytom

Oculus, the Facebook-owned virtual reality firm, is reportedly working on a standalone VR headset with a planned release date of next year. The new headset will aim to bridge the gap between mobile-based VR solutions like the Samsung Gear VR and high-end devices like Oculus’ Rift, which require tethering to a desktop computer.

According to Bloomberg, Oculus will unveil the headset later this year, and it will form a central part in the company’s efforts to popularise VR, with a rumoured price point of around $200 (£154) that is designed to appeal to consumers disappointed by mobile VR but unwilling to invest in the top-of-the-line desktop required to run an Oculus Rift.

The device, code-named ‘Pacific’, will be geared towards immersive gaming, 360-degree video and social networking, similar to the Rift, and will resemble a more compact version of the firm’s flagship product. While the device’s final design and features aren’t finalised, the focus is on creating a high-quality VR experience that people can engage with on the go.

At Oculus’ developer conference last year, Mark Zuckerberg described the space between the Gear VR and the Rift as a “sweet spot”, and that products in this area are “the kind of thing that we believe will exist”. In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for Oculus said that while no product unveilings are currently scheduled, the company is making “several significant technology investments in the  standalone VR category”.

Earlier this week, Oculus cut the price of a number of its products as part of its ‘Summer of Rift’ event, with Oculus Rift headset and Touch controller bundles down from $599 to $399 in the US for an unspecified ‘limited’ amount of time.

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