Facebook Launches Oculus Go Headset, Shipping Starts May 1st
At day one of the F8 Conference, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the general consumer availability of Oculus Go. Commercial licensing of the headset is forthcoming. The long-anticipated standalone headset could help put a charge into to VR hardware market, as its price point, specs and early reviews suggest a category winner.
The Oculus Go provides a solid solution for businesses and consumers who want a mobile, cost-effective VR platform that greatly exceeds many of the iOS/Android headsets that flooded the market the last few years. And publishing apps to the platform is easy using InstaVR.
Below, we’ll concentrate on three main areas for introducing InstaVR users to the Oculus Go:
- What is the Oculus Go?
- Who should buy and use the Oculus Go?
- How do you build a VR app for the Oculus Go using InstaVR?
If you have any questions, as always, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Support team using the Live Chat or email feature in the lower right corner of the screen!
What is the Oculus Go?
The Oculus Go is Facebook’s new standalone VR headset. If you’ve ever used a Samsung Gear VR, the Oculus Go may seem kind of similar, with a few notable exceptions.
Like the Gear VR, it is completely mobile (no attachment to a computer needed), can move with 3 Degrees of Freedom, and has a rudimentary hand controller.
Unlike the Gear VR, there is no need to insert a mobile phone (it’s completely self-contained), no known issues of overheating or extreme phone battery drain, and no need to collect Oculus Signature Files for your InstaVR created apps to run on the phones. Oculus Go also provides a bit more user comfort when wearing vs. Gear VR, making it better for long-form VR applications.
The enterprise commercial pricing is not currently listed, as Oculus is first doing a consumer launch. But if the price point is relatively similar, the total cost of ownership of Oculus Gos will be way less than Samsung Gear VR (which requires a $700+ phone) or the Oculus Rift (which requires a high-end computer with a strong graphics card).
Notably, most of the apps available for download for Gear VR will also be made available for Oculus Go, as they both run on Oculus software. Zuckerberg announced at F8 that 1000 apps would be available at launch.
And for InstaVR users, the apps you’ve already built just need to be re-packaged for the Go and distributed. No special authoring requirements are necessary to change existing apps to make them Go compatible. (Our “write once, publish to many” approach again saving you time)
We’ll re-list the Pros & Cons section again from our earlier post looking at all the new standalone VR headsets hitting the market this year:
- 2,560 x 1,440 display (same as Gear VR, though Oculus uses LCD for display)
- Fixed foveated renderings with a display refresh rate up to 72 Hz, if necessary (which according to Chris Pruett, Head of Development Engineering at Oculus, makes the experience “perceptibly brighter” and “improves color”)
- Completely standalone, meaning no mobile phone required, and hopefully less reported incidents of overheating that has marred some Gear VRs
- Internal speakers, which should theoretically be better than if you just use the mobile phone’s audio in a Gear VR or standard iOS/Android headset
- Price — lower total cost of ownership than Gear VR/Daydream, and also Rift or Vive
- 3 Degrees of Freedom vs. the 6 DoF you get with Vive/Rift; most of our users don’t create media for 6 DoF, so this shouldn’t be too big of an issue
- Requires WiFi access for streaming
Who Should Buy the Oculus Go?
Virtual Reality is made for two audiences: consumers and professionals. InstaVR users create VR experiences for both audiences. And Oculus Go looks like it could potentially be a crossover hit with both groups — because of its mobility, specs, and price point. This is great for InstaVR authors… the more Oculus Go headsets in use, the more eyeballs on your InstaVR-created applications!
Below we’ll cover a few best use cases for Oculus Go. This is just a small sampling though. We truly believe Oculus Go will have broad appeal.
Training – Training apps are probably the most popular enterprise use case for VR. One limitation has been on number of users that can be trained at a time though. For a great, immersive user experience, the employee would need an Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or Samsung Gear VR. But those headsets are relatively more expensive on a per unit basis. With the Oculus Go, given its strong display specs and Gear VR-level Field of View, you can purchase more headsets for more employees at a reasonable investment. And concentrate your real investment on churning out great training experiences using InstaVR.
Travel/Tourism – TUI is one of our favorite customers. It’s worth reading their whole customer success story. They create immersive experiences that lead to tangible upticks in sales of excursions. Just by having Gear VR headsets at resort front desks, they start conversations. But considering the costs, they could have 4x more headsets — multiple ones for each destination — with the Oculus Go, without sacrificing quality. Those same 100+ apps they’ve built on InstaVR for Gear VR can be transferred for use on Oculus Gos.
Sales Presentations – Mobility is key when doing sales presentations. No one wants to lug an HTC Vive or Oculus Rift case with them for a meeting, particularly if they’ll be meeting with multiple people. So when Premise LED uses VR to showcase the improvement by utilizing their lighting solutions, how great would it be to bring 5 Oculus Go headsets to auto dealerships? Functionally, the Oculus Go also has a softer, nicer fit, particularly when compared with something more bulky like the HTC Vive headset.
Conferences – VR is huge at conferences and trade shows. It allows users to transport out of the expo area to experience products and services more immersively. Just like with sales presentations though, the one user at a time limitation of Vive/Rift is a serious choke point. And Gear VRs unfortunately tend to overheat if you have a lot of users watching 360 video back-to-back. So when a client like Zimmer Biomet Dental wants to display the advantages of their dental technology & training services at their industry’s largest trade show, doesn’t it make sense to hand out more Oculus Gos to attendees than have them line up for Oculus Rift viewings?
Architecture/Engineering/Construction – At InstaVR, many of our customers come from these three areas. We easily provide the bridge for them to go from renderings to distribute-ready applications, with them able to create apps in minutes. But when it comes to actually displaying those apps, they too often opt for lower cost options like Google Cardboard. AECOM, our biggest client in the industry, will often send 15 – 20 Gear VRs loaded with InstaVR-created apps to community development meetings. But what if you have a meeting with a 100 community members? With Oculus Go, you could have the entire audience experiencing a proposed building or bridge in VR at the same cost as those 20 Gear VRs.
How Do You Build an App for Oculus Go Using InstaVR?
In a word: easily. That same VR experience you’ve built for Gear VR/Daydream/Rift/Vive/iOS/Android/Web will be able to be experienced on the Oculus Go. In fact, you just need to re-package your already authored apps specifically for Oculus Go on the InstaVR platform.
- You no longer have to go onto the Samsung phones you’ll be using to get Device IDs & generate Oculus Signature Files. Oculus Go requires no Signature Files at all. This should make some customers happy.
- You can publish your apps as “In Development” on the Oculus Store. This WON’T release your apps publicly. Instead, you can choose the Alpha, Beta or RC channels for release, without actually releasing the apps. And then by adding Facebook Developer users to the Release Channel, they can download the application directly to their Oculus Go devices.
- Advanced users can also utilize adb launch commands to get the app running on their Go. This is the equivalent of sideloading your app, with the headset having to be connected to the headset.
Instructions for publishing are found in our complete how-to guide for Oculus Go: https://www.instavr.co/articles/general/how-to-create-and-publish-oculus-go-apps
That’s it! Everything else works same as Gear VR. You can pair up the hand controller for interactivity, or use gaze-based navigation for engaging Navigation Links, Hotspots, etc. And that same voiceover or music you add to your scenes will be experienced on the Go built-in speakers, including Spatial Audio.
In case you can’t tell, we’re excited about Oculus Go! This headset is perfect for so many of our clients. And InstaVR gives you the easy-to-use, no coding platform to create applications for the Oculus Go in minutes.
You can start building and sharing Oculus Go applications today. Let us know your success stories, as we’d like to share with our customers how InstaVR + Oculus Go is re-shaping the use of VR for commercial purposes.
Good luck with all your Oculus Go VR experiences!
All Images Courtesy of Oculus