Facebook is rumoured to be working on a new virtual reality headset, which will bridge the gap between smartphone-powered headsets, and more expensive headsets which are tethered to a PC. Apparently codename Pacific, it’s designed for playing games, watching video, and social networking, using apps available through a dedicated app store.
The company has big ambitions for the headset, apparently positioning it to do for VR headsets, what the Apple iPhone did for smartphones. Facebook will benefit from making VR more popular with mainstream audiences, having already demonstrated a VR chat environment within Facebook, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has talked about how he expects virtual reality will change the way we all interact with each other in the future.
If the Pacific headset works without a phone or PC, it will be easier for people to use, and less expensive. Facebook reportedly expects to charge around $200 for the Pacific, which is considerably less than the $400 Oculus Rift; but more than Samsung’s Galaxy phone-powered Gear VR.
The headset will have Oculus branding, according to the anonymous sources speaking to Bloomberg, and will be built with Chinese smartphone brand Xiaomi’s assistance. It is expected to use a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and feature its own application store.
“The company plans to begin briefing content makers, such as video game designers, on the device by October so that the product’s application store could launch with compatible games, one of the people said. The downloads store will be re-written and accessible from the virtual reality interface itself, this person said.”
A 2018 shipping date is likely, but the plans haven’t been made official yet, and may change at any time.