During Connect 4 conference in San Jose, Mark Zuckerberg introduced Oculus Go, the first standalone virtual reality headset by Oculus.
- It’s as affordable as $199.
- No phone or PC required.
- A lineup between the mobile Gear VR and high-end Oculus Rift.
This sounds like a good news, however, will Oculus Go really get mainstream adoption? Will Oculus Go be the reason why virtual reality is used widely?
Let’s get through this.
1 . Let’s talk about the price, sales, timing.
There seems to be a pattern here. Take a look at the price table below.
P.S. This is the price of the VR headset only — before the price drop.
Google Cardboard — $15, launched in June 2014, sold more than 10 million units as of January 2017.
Google Daydream — $79, launched in November 2016, sold more than 260,000 in the last quarter of 2016
Samsung Gear VR — $99, launched in November 2015, sold more than 5 million units as of January 2017.
PSVR — $399, launched in October 2016, sold more than 1 million units as of June 2017.
Oculus Rift — $599, launched in March 2016, sold around 243,000 units by the end of last year.
HTC Vive — $799, launched in April 2016, sold more than 420,000 units by the end of last year.
Can you see the pattern? The cheaper it is, it is likely to sell more. So, yes, the price does matter, however, that’s not the only case.
First off, Google Cardboard is clearly the winner here because it’s the cheapest and the most compatible with any kind of smartphone, which is owned by most people. Oculus Go isn’t the cheapest out of all these virtual reality headsets. And, it is understandable because Oculus Go doesn’t require any phone or PC, all in one, nevertheless, at the end of the day, consumers will always look at the final price. Even though you need a $200 smartphone to support Google Cardboard, you’ll just look at the $15, not $215.
However, if the price is the only case, Google Daydream is supposed to take spot no. 2, but it is not. Maybe it’s because of the limited hardware, which won’t happen in Oculus Go. Maybe it’s because of the timing, as nothing’s really new between Gear VR and Daydream, meanwhile, Gear VR had launched a year before the release of Daydream.
As expected, Samsung Gear VR is the second best-selling virtual reality headset, even though it only works on Samsung Galaxy devices, which could mean Oculus Go will have a better spot because it works without any device. But the timing for Gear VR might be right, as it was launched in 2015, a year before Oculus and HTC Vive were launched, the year when virtual reality was on its hype. Will the timing be right for Oculus Go?
Unexpectedly, PSVR outsells Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Although it has a specific target (hey, gamers), it seems the best part of Sony’s PSVR because the idea of PSVR is relatable to their target audience. A glasses connected to a PS4? Then it must be a glasses that transport us into the game’s world. So, how relatable is Oculus Go to its target audience?
2. Who is the target audience of Oculus Go?
PSVR is for the gamers. Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR are for people who want to try the glimpse of virtual reality. Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are meant to be for early adopters, heating the industry. So, who is the target audience of Oculus Go? If it’s mainly for people who want to try the glimpse of virtual reality, don’t we have already Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR?
3. What’s new, then, from Oculus Go?
If Oculus Go targets the mainstream audience, then it shall be more than just a mixture of Gear VR and Daydream. It shall have new experiences that we haven’t experienced in previous mobile VR headsets. Furthermore, it needs something that makes people feel like, “Oh, yeah, I need one.” However, from what we’ve got, Oculus Go is more similar to mobile VR headsets like Gear VR, featuring rotational-only tracking (3DOF) on both the headset and the controller. On the bright side, Oculus Go is on the right track because, at least, it will generate awareness of virtual reality, show that the future of virtual reality would be as simple as our smartphones today, open new opportunities.
This is just a part of marketing strategy from Facebook before the release of Santa-Cruz, an anticipated 6DOF standalone virtual reality headset. The one that makes you walk around, without tethering the headset to a high-end PC.
Last but not least, if this is Facebook’s effort to gain the hype of virtual reality, what’s your effort?
Just in case you don’t know what to do to make VR big, this article may help you.
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