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Report: Facebook plans US$200 Oculus VR headset

Oculus RiftFacebook is reportedly planning to launch a wireless Oculus VR headset for US$200 next year, in a bid to reach a mass-market audience.

According to a Bloomberg report the new device is being designed to bridge the gap between lower-priced smartphone-based VR headsets and PC-tethered devices like the Oculus Rift, which currently retails at US$400.

Code-named ‘Pacific’, the new headset will reportedly operate as a standalone wireless device to be used for immersive gaming, social networking and watching video.

“We don’t have a product to unveil at this time, however we can confirm we’re making several significant technology investments in the standalone VR category,” and Oculus spokesman said in statement to Bloomberg.

The news comes after Google said in May that the first standalone virtual reality headsets to run using Google’s Daydream VR platform are due to launch later this year.

Revealing the news at its Google I/O developer conference, Google said that HTC Vive and Lenovo are both working on devices in what promises to be a major evolution of Daydream – which launched as a smartphone platform in October 2016.

It also comes after Facebook this week rolled out a new VR app called Facebook Spaces. The service, which was first unveiled at Facebook’s F8 conference in April, is designed to let users hang out in virtual environments “as if you were in the same room”.

Facebook acquired Oculus for US$2 billion in 2014 and in January this year hired former Xiaomi and Google executive Hugo Barra to lead all of its virtual reality efforts.

On joining the firm, Barra said his mission at Facebook would be to “make technology breakthroughs quickly and readily available to the widest possible spectrum of humanity”.