Oculus go has arrived and it’s a big deal electricity 101


Up until now, one of the biggest barriers to entry for VR has been price. Headset adoption has taken a conservative growth path, mostly due in part to high prices of PC-required systems or just requiring consumers to own a specific line of VR compatible phones to pair with mobile headsets.

Starting today, the Oculus Go standalone VR headset is available for purchase for $199. Available for sale on Oculus.com in 23 countries, you can also pick up one online from Amazon or in Best Buy Stores in the U.S. The Oculus companion app used for initial setup is available for both iPhone or Android devices.

Last October during an opening keynote from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Oculus Go was revealed as a significant part of Oculus’ larger goal to getting one billion consumers into VR. “We have to make sure virtual reality is accessible to everyone and we have to work both on affordability and quality,” said Zuckerberg.

So for less than $200, you have everything you need to dive into VR. And it feels way faster than the mobile VR headsets available today, largely in part because the standalone Oculus Go processing is only being used for VR. There’s no other phone functions running in the background hogging up resources on this device.

Aside from an accessible price that is sure to get many new folks into VR for the first time, the Oculus Go is lightning fast at firing up. Hold the power button down to turn on the headset and you’re ready to go. I can pickup the Oculus Go, turn it on, and just hand it to anyone along with the wireless controller. From my testing over a week, you can expect 1.5-2 hours of gaming, or 2-2.5 hours of video watching with a full charge.

Although we’re only talking about seconds to start up in comparison to pulling out your mobile device and sliding it into a VR headset, they are precious seconds. You feel like you can just grab the Oculus Go and check something out quickly, almost like turning on the TV just to see if there’s anything to watch at that moment. Apps & Entertainment

The idea of making Oculus Go an entertainment device in your home, like a TV, is only possible if there’s something to watch. Oculus can make the headset affordable and teleport me into VR quick, but you better have the content I actually care about.

Oculus Go is launching with over 1,000 apps, movies, games and experiences, nearly 100 of which are brand new or significantly updated titles. Aside from all the VR games and experiences that have been available on Samsung Gear VR to date, Oculus is going hard on new types of entertainment for the standalone headset. The only problem is that the ones i’m most excited about are still coming soon over the next months.

Oculus Venues isn’t available yet but the app is expected to let you watch live concerts, sports, comedy and other events around the world with your friends and thousands of other people in VR. Venues that Oculus is planning to launch with include Major League Baseball games, artists like Vance Joy in partnership with AEG, emerging musicians from School Night at the Bardot in partnership with NextVR, and standup events like Gotham Comedy Club.

Oculus TV is another potentially killer app that is coming in May to Oculus Go. It’s an entirely new way to experience and watch your favorite – you guessed it – TV shows. Oculus is building a 3D environment with a massive screen and seating area, letting you fire up apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Showtime. Oculus TV also has partnerships in the works that strive to make Oculus Go an entertainment portal for other content as well including Redbull, Pluto TV, Facebook video, and even ESPN, including the new service ESPN+ coming later this year.

Other apps launching with the Oculus Go worth checking out include Coaster Combat, which is part roller coaster experience and part action game. I also spent a good amount of time in RÉPUBLIQUE. If you’re looking to introduce someone to VR, They Suspect Nothing and Petlab are overflowing with charm, polish, and ease of use. Social

Catan VR allows tabletop fans and new players alike to experience the best-selling board game in a fresh, fully-immersive format. You can take on other players around the world, no matter what Oculus device you’re using. So now you can join buddies who have an Oculus Go, Rift, or Gear VR.

Oculus Rooms has been fully redesigned with a customizable environment, more life-like avatars, and the ability to watch purchased and rented movies from among the hundreds of titles in the Oculus Store. Hasbro will be bringing tabletop games like Boggle, Monopoly, and Trivial Pursuit soon after launch. There’s also a killer Poker VR app that lets you face off with others. There are poker tournaments run daily and joining is as simple as taking a seat at the virtual table.

Now that you’re spending time in VR with friends, you’ll want to see and hear them clearly. The Oculus Go has solid optics (538ppi; 5.5” 2560 x 1440) that looks better than current mobile VR headsets today. Display Refresh is 60Hz or 72Hz, depending on the app and experience.

Integrated speakers and microphone make things easy. There’s of course a 3.5mm headset jack if you want to use your own headphones, but Oculus Go’s speakers are built right into the headset and provide good enough spatial audio. Not needing headphones makes the Oculus Go again easy to share with someone else at any moment. Design & Comfort

The Oculus Go design is superb. A finished consumer ready product made with breathable fabrics and soft elastic straps, Oculus Go is comfortable and fully adjustable. This doesn’t feel like cheap plastic. You can comfortably wear your glasses thanks to the included glasses spacer that comes with every headset. And for the first time, Oculus is also selling additional accessories “available soon” to further customize your headset that includes prescription lenses and an additional “facial interface fit” (for broader cheeks).

The Oculus Go is a breath of fresh air in a market that honestly has gotten quite complicated with so many headset systems and device requirements. Now for the first time, we have an answer for anyone asking which VR headset they should buy to get started for a couple hundred bucks. No follow-up question on what phone they own needed.