The Oculus Go was the first standalone VR headset that Oculus released, letting users enjoy virtual reality experiences in one self-contained device. It didn’t offer the same kind of high fidelity graphics that a high-end VR headset paired with a powerful desktop PR could offer, but it was a lightweight and cheap device, that would work independently of any other hardware.
Originally released in early 2018, and using internal components that were very similar to what you might find in a typical phone, it has been able to keep up with other VR headsets admirably, with bespoke versions of Beat Saber, Dance Central, and The Climb, but it’s clearly not a device that’s powerful enough to run any more demanding games.
Partly for this reason, Oculus has announced that they will be ending support for the Oculus Go, instead directing people towards their newer standalone VR headset the Oculus Quest. In a blog post announcing this decision, Oculus said:
“The community response has been overwhelmingly positive, and you’ve told us loud and clear that 6DOF feels like the future of VR. That’s why we’re going all-in, and we won’t be shipping any more 3DOF VR products. We’ll end sales of Oculus Go headsets this year as we double down on improving our offerings for Quest and Rift.”
3DOF refers to three degrees of motion, where headsets like the Oculus Go can track your rotation position along the three axes of rotation but does not have support for tracking your position. This limits the complexity of the VR experiences you can have since games can’t react to your positional movement. 6DOF headsets like both the Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift can track both your rotational movements and your positional movements, which leads to a more immersive experience.
This is a shame for anyone who uses an Oculus Go, especially for anyone who bought one recently, as this means new releases of apps and games to use on this headset will begin to dry up soon. Oculus says that they will support this headset with bugfixes and security patches through til 2022, but that they will no longer have any new releases coming to the store from December 4th this year.
For users that own or upgrade to their newer standalone headset, the Oculus Quest, there are some changes coming too, as an update coming early next year will add support for developers to release games for the Oculus Quest outside of the official store. This should pave the way for some more experimental or non-commercial projects, or even for developers that were cautious about working on an Oculus Quest project knowing that they could be rejected from the store on Oculus’s whims.
Pioneer of early 3D games, and engineer at Oculus, John Carmack had some interesting comments on the matter, suggesting this decision came after some internal debate within the company as to what the best strategy going forward was.
less adjustability, fewer (no, initially) cameras. The VR enthusiast base wants more of everything, and is willing to pay in dollars, weight, and complexity, but I still don't think it is clear what trades the broad consumer base wants.
— John Carmack (@ID_AA_Carmack) June 23, 2020
Sounds like the Oculus Go was created to make an accessible entry-level device, but over time it’s become clear that the base level for VR needs to be a little higher. Now that they’ve raised that base level with the most sophisticated Oculus Quest, the Oculus Go is somewhat obsolete.