Oculus Go - Misses The Mark

Oculus' Go is fabulous hardware, but they made some mistakes which will prevent the headset from having significant adoption

#virtualreality  #oculusgo  #cardboard  #youtube  #techreview  #developer  #unity3d  #gaming 

  • I'm super excited about Virtual Reality, and when I heard that Oculus had released their new portable headset for only two hundred bucks, I had to order one so I could see how it compares to all the other VR systems I've used. I was most excited about the idea that the vast library of cardboard experiences and YouTube videos would be available for play on this portable headset.

    Dead On Arrival?

    Unfortunately, the Oculus Go can't access YouTube 3D movies, has no playback system for EAC, has no Play Store, Cardboard, or Daydream support. In fact, the Oculus Go is designed to be entirely trapped in Oculus' own walled garden, so if you want to use anything that isn't there, you will have to hack your headset. Good luck doing that, they hired the Cyanogen Mod guy to design their OS load.

    Technical Details

    As a developer, my concerns regarding a platform are probably similar to most end users, but with more focus on the development environment to use to publish on that system. The Oculus Go severely disappoints in this category also. The system used to communicate with Android hardware is called ADB. The ADB interface for the Oculus Go is terrible. It has to be disconnected from the host machine and reconnected every time a command is issued or a game build is made. The whole tool set has to be restarted after every build, and that involves messing with the adb cli. The process is not friendly and doesn't encourage developers to build on this platform.

    Hardware

    The worst part about these problems is that the hardware is so nice. The display is high res, with less screen door effect than I get in my Vive. The controller is responsive, and doesn't wander relative to the headset like many other self contained headsets. The processor is last year's champ, the SnapDragon 801. It's a powerhouse and has plenty of juice to operate mobile experiences. The controller puck has no haptic (vibration) feedback, so it really could have been done better, but it does return the 3DOF data quickly and accurately.

    Their Own Worst Enemy?

    These problems are of Oculus' own making. They have disabled this hardware by not making the most popular uses of VR possible on it, and substituting their own inferior services. Without the support of YouTube and the thousands of cardboard titles on Google Play, the Oculus Go headset is destined to sit on my shelf and collect dust alongside all the other hardware that missed the mark.

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