Facebook hopes its new wireless headset — known as the Oculus Go — will help bring virtual reality into the spotlight.
The company first paid over $2 billion to buy Oculus back in 2013. Though many were skeptical about the move, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg assured that VR would be the next big technological breakthrough.
“Virtual reality was once the dream of science fiction,” he wrote at the time. “But the internet was also once a dream, and so were computers and smartphones. One day, we believe this kind of immersive, augmented reality will become a part of daily life for billions of people.”
However, in the three-and-a-half years since that point, virtual reality has not come close to taking off. Two million headsets shipped in 2016, and the Oculus accounted for roughly 400,00 of those sales. While that is a lot, it is far below the number that Zuckerberg wants to hit.
As a result, Facebook hopes the new Oculus Go will finally act as a headset that can hit every person’s interest level. The device has many advantages over previous models, including that it will not need a smartphone, cables, or wires to properly operate.
In addition, the company also plans to drive the price point of the headset way below competitors. Price is a big obstacle when it comes to VR, and it is one of the reasons many people have not gotten into the idea. Facebook hopes lower prices will change that.
Beyond the Oculus Go, the company is also working on a standalone headset known as Santa Cruz, which could also put the devices on the map.
Zuckerberg states he wants to get one billion people around the world using VR. That is a lofty goal. However, the ambitious tech genius is willing to put in the work.
“When we were acquired, Mark [Zuckerberg] came out [and said] this is a ten year journey,” Nate Mitchell, an Oculus co-founder who oversees hardware and software for the Rift, told Recode. “We’ve been at Facebook now for three years. Will we get a billion people into VR in the next seven years? I don’t know. It would be awesome. I think it’ll probably take a little bit more than that, but I’m optimistic.”