The XR market is a fairly new one and so is subject to change. The monolithic companies are here to stay for a while but their representation in markets shifts and changes. In June, Oculus announced that it would no longer carry Go. As if in response, Pico announced the addition of new headsets in its G2 4K line – cornering the market on industry 3DoF.
It may not seem like it, but it’s been over two years since Oculus launched the Go. While not the first stand-alone headset, the Go reinvented entry-level VR headsets.
The model was more affordable than just about anything out there but also had more limited memory and controls. The headset came with one controller and allowed three degrees of freedom (3DoF) – users could look around but moving was unnatural and gesture controls were non-existent.
Later that same year, Oculus announced the Quest, which launched last Spring. Quest is still stand-alone but has twice the memory, dual touch controllers, and room tracking for 6DoF experiences. It is also considerably more expensive than the Go.
Quest has been spectacularly successful and the writing was on the wall. Finally, in a June 23 blog post titled “An Update on the Evolution of the Oculus Platform,” Oculus announced,
“The community response [to Quest] has been overwhelmingly positive, and you’ve told us loud and clear that 6DOF feels like the future of VR. That’s why we’re going all-in, and we won’t be shipping any more 3DOF VR products. We’ll end sales of Oculus Go headsets this year as we double down on improving our offerings for Quest and Rift.”
Oculus has since made good on its promise. The Oculus Go website redirects to you to purchase Quest.
What’s the 3DoF Competition Like?
Rewind to 2017. The (now also discontinued) Pico Goblin hits the shelves. The stand-alone 3DoF headset is a year ahead of Oculus Go but largely flies under the radar in the states. Pico Interactive offers enterprise sales and support in the United States, but not consumer sales and support.
The original Goblin is no longer supported but the second generation of the headset – the G2 – is still in production. In fact, Pico recently announced an expansion of the G2 4K package.
“The new headsets are a result of customer demand for more memory space and improved battery life, and they will join Pico’s top selling G2 4K,” reads a release shared with ARPost. “As Oculus just recently announced it’s discontinuing of the Oculus Go, Pico is the only global company to offer a 3DoF solution for the enterprise.”
Priced at $375, the G2 4K S comes with a serviceable battery capable of running for two to five hours on a charge. It also packs a 128GB memory.
The $499 G2 4K Enterprise has the same memory but comes equipped with an additional SD slot. The headset also has a 16MP RGB camera and is made of an easier-to-clean material.
The End of an Era?
The comments under the Oculus Go announcement show mixed emotions. Many are glad to see 3DoF is on the way out, while others understand that this is a major blow to accessibility of lower-priced, entry-level consumer headsets.
The good news is that an industry that doesn’t need a more advanced solution can still find an affordable option with Pico. And who knows, if Pico keeps reading the room, we might see them roll out consumer sales and support in the states.