Last fall, Oculus showed off a very early prototype of a standalone headset, code-named “Santa Cruz.” Meant to deliver much of the same high-quality VR functionality as its Rift, the device was wireless, requiring no additional computing power other than what it had on board. The Facebook-owned division wouldn’t talk about pricing, and didn’t say anything about when it would be released. But the headset did offer positional tracking—the ability for the wearer to move around in physical space in VR rather than simply being at the center of 360-degree scenes, as is the case with mobile VR systems like Samsung’s Gear VR or Google’s Daydream.
Today, Bloomberg reported that Oculus is planning on releasing the new headset next year, for $200. That would be a significant price cut over what the Oculus Rift currently costs—$398, on temporary sale, down from its full price of $598—and is clearly aimed at helping make Oculus, and by extension, virtual reality itself, much palatable to consumers unsure of whether they want to jump aboard the VR train.
But as I reported this morning, there are a slew of other things that have to happen, beyond lowering prices of VR hardware, before the technology can become truly mainstream.