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Oculus takes pole position in the VR war, but Microsoft MR headsets have new opportunities

Oculus is attempting to maximize on wireless VR technology and take the lead as the premier organization involved in VR development.

Oculus at GDC 2108

Oculus, at its “Inside Oculus” event at GDC 2018, made some major announcements which quite frankly put the company ahead in the VR race. These announcements include Oculus Go, “Santa Cruz” project, and improvements to Oculus Home.

To begin with, Oculus Home will be getting the feature where users will be able to upload their own creative material into the platform using the .glb format from Oculus Medium. Oculus Medium offers some very useful tools for users to create their own content which now can be imported. This opens up the possibility of art in the virtual space which essentially means that Oculus is on its way to becoming a creative repository in itself.

It’s important to note that this is not a new idea; HTC Vive and other headsets have software which allow creative content creation. What this does represent in the integration of the content in the core software of Oculus.

Further, Oculus has worked on headsets such as the Oculus Go which is a standalone device. Now the competition in the standalone headset category is slim with Google, Lenovo and Samsung being the other major players. Oculus has literally turned a Rift headset into a wireless headset with some improvements over the present devices from competitors. The resolution of the lenses are not fixed to 1024 x 1024 pixels and the use of the Snapdragon 821 SoC brings up the FPS count from the regular 60 to 72.

But most importantly, Oculus’ full-sized wireless headset which is codenamed “Santa Cruz” has been the centre of attention. It has an elaborate setup with four cameras tracking the position of the controller and the user. The display rate of the headset is 72 fps it comes with six-degrees-of-freedom (6DoF) controllers. This device will probably not have to compromise anything in terms of performance compared to the Oculus Go.

These technologies just put Oculus’ at the lead in the VR technology race, especially the future project codenamed “Santa Cruz” which is unlike any other wireless headset out there. Oculus may have taken some inspiration for the fact that casual gaming on smartphones brought the whole platform to the forefront. And it clearly want to be the first ones to step into the wireless VR territory and plant its flag before anyone else does.

In terms of content for its VR headset, Oculus is much ahead of the competition, but that would presumably be useless if the headsets were to become wireless with different specifications.

This might be an opportunity for companies like Microsoft which is seeing a growing adaptation for its mixed reality headsets. An opportunity that can be maximized by focusing on improving the content for the MR headsets and building a market that maximizes on it.

  • Published Date: March 28, 2018 1:11 PM IST