Facebook Plans to Launch Oculus Go VR Headset at f8 Developer Conference (EXCLUSIVE)

Oculus Go
Courtesy of Oculus

Facebook is looking to officially launch its Oculus Go standalone virtual reality (VR) headset at its f8 developer conference on May 1, Variety has learned from multiple sources familiar with the company’s plans.

A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment.

The company first announced the device, which will sell for $199 and up, in October. At the time, company executives said that the headset would be available to consumers in early 2018.

Oculus Go is based on the same software as Samsung’s Gear VR headset, which means that it will out of the box offer access to thousands of VR games and 360-degree video experiences, including apps from Hulu, Netflix, and HBO. Unlike the Gear VR, it integrates a display and all of its computing power directly into the headset, doing away with the need to use a phone or PC for VR.

Recent leaks suggest that the $199 version will come with 32 GB of on-board storage, with Facebook selling a 64 GB version for a higher price. However, unlike the company’s pricier Oculus Rift headset, Oculus Go doesn’t use any positional tracking technology. This means that users won’t be able to lean into any VR experience, making the device less immersive than the Rift.

Facebook supplied developers with versions of the Go that looked very much like final retail products some time last year, according to multiple sources. At CES, it announced a partnership with Xiaomi and Qualcomm to manufacture the Go, but the device itself remained a no-show.

It’s not entirely clear what caused the delay, with possible reasons including concerns about supply shortages. However, Facebook could also have decided to wait with the launch until May to align it more closely with its overall product launch  strategy, which has been increasingly focused on f8. In fact, Facebook’s VP of AR  and VR Andrew Bosworth tweeted last month that the conference would feature “the biggest AR/VR news from Facebook to date.”

Facebook’s Oculus unit has had its fair share of problems with shipping delays in the past. In early 2016, it had to delay the delivery of the first batch of Oculus Rift headsets due to a component shortage. And developers had to wait until the end of that year to release games and applications that made use of the Oculus Touch controller, which only became commercially available more than half a year after the headset itself.