On June 23rd, Facebook’s Oculus released a statement that it will be retiring the Oculus Go standalone headset to focus on the high-end Oculus Quest with six degrees of freedom and hand tracking technologies. The Go has been unavailable for months for purchase on the Oculus website or Best Buy— only available used or pre-bought on EBay, Amazon or Walmart at high premiums almost three times the price. A new 32GB Oculus Go headset is currently listed at $438.65 on EBay… well above a Quest.
Oculus Go Commercial Successes
Oculus’ entry level VR headset had been previously available for $150 for the 32GB model and $199 for the 64GB after dropping their prices at the start of the year. The Oculus Go has had a history in creating enterprise value specifically for training purposes. In 2018, Walmart ordered over 17,000 Gos in every US branch of its stores to train its frontline employees. VR training for Walmart on the Go included 45 modules, simulating events such as Black Friday shopping rush or learning new technology such as its rolling “pickup towers”. Walmart had initially piloted the Gos in 45 stores, and concluded that VR learning was more effective than their traditional computer-based e-courses.
Being able to simulate immersive scenarios such as fire safety training or active shooter scenarios, allows each learner to practice their skills without real-world consequences from anywhere in the world. Companies can also be assured that their employees are receiving standardized, high quality training.
And the Go price point, lowered the risk of entry for corporate VR training. At the $399 price of the Quest ($1000 for enterprise), scaling to thousands of locations might not be as economically feasible even for a behemoth such as Walmart. An Oculus Go package for businesses included 64GB of storage, a commercial warranty and two facial interfaces at $299 per unit.
Retirement Looming Since January
In January, Oculus dropped the Oculus Go from their business program, stating: “it’s become clear that Oculus Quest, with its high end graphics and fully immersive capabilities, is the best solution for most business VR needs. We’ve decided to focus our efforts on developing the platform based on Quest features and functionality.”
Then in March, the Go’s sold out. In the Oculus June statement they mention that they will be ending the sale of the Oculus Go, no longer be shipping any more 3DOF VR products, and will no longer accept new Oculus Apps or app updates into the Store after December 4, 2020. They will continue to maintain the system software with bug fixes and security patches through 2022.
Go vs. Quest
The simplicity of the one controller three degrees-of-freedom Oculus Go system has some advantages to the Quest. It is lighter and simpler to use. People do not realize that there is a learning curve to adjust to VR. The Quest is more foreign to new users and takes more time to set up and adjust. The Go is a more stationary experience, whereas the Quest in general requires more space unless you know how to set up your boundaries in stationary mode. With the Go, no boundaries are necessary. This saves time getting started, reducing confusion and user frustration.
Grasp maintains a small fleet of Oculus Go kits in our inventory, primarily for pilot programs to onboard new customers, but there is not enough stock available for implementing large scale programs. Our current focus is the Pico Neo 2 HD for our three-degree-of-freedom scenarios, a professional headset with 4K resolution (3840x2160) and graphics powered by 835 Snapdragon. And at 276g, the G2 is 60% the weight of the Go (470g).
“Part of what makes our software platform powerful is that it is headset agnostic,” says Grasp co-founder and SVP of Product Matt Zeiger, “that way we can leverage the latest hardware technology to implement our programs effectively.”
For now, the Go looks destined for extinction leaving a vacuum for entry level VR headsets in the market.