Oculus Go: Why was Oculus Go Discontinued?
Oculus announced on June 23, 2020, that it is retiring the Oculus Go. After December 18, 2020, the Oculus Store will no longer support Go apps, and the company has ceased developing new features for Go. Updating security and fixing bugs will continue until 2022. Our original review from May 8, 2018, is below.
Standalone virtual reality headsets had been a dream until very recently. Until now, virtual reality (VR) headsets have been either mobile-dependent, requiring a fairly powerful smartphone to be inserted into a wearable shell, or tethered, requiring a connection to a separate device, such as a gaming PC or console.
The former doesn’t require cables and is more affordable, but they’re incompatible with all but a select few high-priced cell phones. The latter are cumbersome to set up since they involve clumsy wires and costly components.
The first genuinely portable virtual reality headsets are already available. The Lenovo Mirage Solo is a smartphone– and PC-free VR headset powered by Google Daydream, but at $400, it doesn’t offer quite the same level of immersion as tethered headsets.
When compared to the Mirage Solo, the Oculus Go’s specs are considerably worse, yet it costs only $199 (for 32GB; a 64GB version is available for $249). Inquisitive consumers who want to try virtual reality (VR) without breaking the bank will be attracted to its affordable price and user-friendly design.
It’s the greatest beginner VR headset we’ve seen yet, even if it falls short of an Editors’ Choice award.
Oculus Go: Design
The Oculus Go is similar in design to the Google Daydream View, however, it doesn’t have the same cloth covering the visor. Gray plastic, with a flat front and the Oculus emblem printed on top. A power button, a volume rocker, and an LED indicator light are located along the leading edge of the visor’s upper surface.
The only physical buttons and ports on this headset are the micro USB charging port and the 3.5mm headphone socket, which can be used with headphones or earbuds (both of which are optional). Unlike the Mirage Solo, you can’t expand storage beyond the 32GB or 64GB that comes standard.
A layer of foam, covered in fabric, wraps around the visor’s back, where it rests against your face. If you’re used to headsets like the Mirage Solo, which have a raw foam interior, you’ll appreciate the fabric cover.
If you wear glasses, you can remove the foam from the visor and place the provided rubber spacer there so you can use the headset. If you use glasses but don’t want to use them with the Oculus Go, you may purchase prescription lens inserts for $79.99.
You may secure the visor in place over your face with a three-point headband constructed from large elastic straps. Two lengthy brackets attach to the visor’s sides, and a single eyelet hole in the mask’s back attaches the visor’s top.
Hook-and-loop fasteners keep the straps in place, and though they aren’t as simple to adjust as a dial on the back, as with the Mirage Solo or PlayStation VR, the elastic has plenty of give, making it easier to tighten or loosen the headband while wearing the headset than on the bulkier, tethered Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
The Oculus Go weighs in at just over a pound, making it considerably lighter than the Mirage Solo’s 1.4-pound weight, and only two ounces heavier than the Daydream View with a Pixel 2 installed. The wide elastic straps of the headband and the breathable fabric of the face mask make this mask particularly wearable.
The Oculus Go’s three-hour battery life should be wearable without discomfort, although users who have headaches or motion sickness when using virtual reality (VR) should take frequent breaks during prolonged sessions.
Oculus Go: Motion Controls
The provided controller is nearly identical to the one seen on the Daydream View and Mirage Solo, with some welcome improvements. It’s still a 3DOF motion controller with a clickable touchpad and tactile Back and Home/Oculus buttons, but it doesn’t monitor position like the Oculus Touch or HTC Vive controllers.
The Oculus Go remote has a wrist strap, a trigger on the front, and a somewhat more ergonomic design that makes it feel more like a handgun than a remote control. The device is powered by a single AA battery.
The Oculus Go itself, together with the controller, has just three degrees of freedom rather than six; this places it behind the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, all Windows Mixed Reality headsets, and the Mirage Solo.
The 3 degrees of freedom (DOF) of the headset allow it to monitor motion and identify the direction in which you are looking, but it cannot distinguish between forward, backward, up, down, or side-to-side motion.
The biggest drawback of 3DOF compared to 6DOF is that Oculus Go VR software is limited to sitting or lying down; whole-room VR, where users may stand up and roam around, is reserved for more expensive, tethered headsets.
Oculus Go: Hardware
The Oculus Go has a display with the same 2,560-by-1,440 resolution as the Mirage Solo, with 1,280-by-1,440 for each eye. Since it uses an LCD screen instead of an OLED one, the Samsung Gear VR will not provide the same level of contrast or color accuracy as the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, or Samsung’s own premium phones.
As opposed to the Mirage Solo’s 75Hz and the tethered headsets’ 90Hz to 120Hz refresh rate, this one varies between 60Hz and 72Hz, depending on the software. It still has a sharp picture, but the blackness of space in science apps and video games isn’t quite as pronounced as with OLED screens.
Compared to the Snapdragon 835 used by the Mirage Solo or any of the recent flagship smartphones that are compatible with the Daydream View or Gear VR, the headset’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 CPU is much weaker.
The Snapdragon 821 used in VR headsets has been overclocked to make it a bit more powerful than the smartphone version, but it still lags behind the CPUs found in the vast majority of competing headsets.
In addition, the visual capabilities of tethered VR headsets like the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and PS VR are far superior to those of any smartphone-based VR gear.
However, purchasing a gaming computer, PlayStation 4, or flagship smartphone, in addition to the Oculus Go, will cost you at least twice as much. As a result of the low cost, it’s a fair trade-off.
Oculus Go supports external audio input from headphones or earbuds, and it also includes its internal speaker setup. When you put on the headset, a pair of precisely aimed speaker drivers project sound into your ears, simulating the experience of using headphones.
It’s a more impressive effect than you’d think, and there’s surprisingly little sound leakage between what you hear and what other people hear. The headset’s speaker system should not be used if you require complete secrecy; nonetheless, it is not nearly as loud to those around you as it appears to be.
Oculus Go: Software
The Oculus Go’s Oculus Store is more like the Oculus-powered Samsung Gear VR store than the Oculus Rift’s more sophisticated virtual reality library. Hulu, Netflix, and Showtime, among others, are available as Oculus Go apps, along with a regular library of video streaming services.
While the Mirage Solo has a dedicated YouTube app, the built-in web browser makes it easy to watch 180 and 360-degree videos on YouTube. There are also interesting reading, viewing, and productivity apps, as well as apps specifically designed for navigating 360-degree video content libraries and exploring outer space in virtual reality.
Madefire is a virtual reality software for reading comic books, while Calcflow is a first-person, 3D view of parametric equation models. There’s no shortage of fun features to investigate in the goggles.
Though the Oculus Go’s games aren’t as sophisticated as those on tethered headsets, there are still some fun things to try out. Available on the Oculus Store is the puzzle party game Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, the horror dungeon crawler Dreadhalls, and a virtual version of the classic board game Settlers of Catan called Catan VR.
There is still a lack of variety in the available resources. Due to Oculus’ Apple-like insularity, the Go cannot access competing Android-based VR marketplaces like Google Play.
Although it is possible to sideload more Android apps to the headset by enabling Developer Mode on the Oculus mobile app and downloading the Oculus Go ADB on a suitable Windows PC, it is a total crapshoot as to whether or not those apps will actually run in the headset.
Oculus Go: VR Experiences
In Catan VR, you and up to three other players sit around a virtual Catan board. The presence of the other players in the chairs demonstrates not only the Go’s multi-player capabilities but also Oculus’ support for cross-headset play between the Oculus Go and the Oculus Rift.
Two of the players were using Oculus Rifts, and with the help of the Oculus Touch controllers, their hands appeared to float in front of them while they played. Each of the other Oculus Go users and I had only one gloved hand, which represented the Oculus Go controller.
The virtual reality version of Tomb Raider, Lara’s Escape, was another something I experimented with. This virtual reality (VR) experience is meant to promote the upcoming film. I was Lara Croft, the heroine who had to escape from armed troops while trapped in a tomb.
Similar to other, less complex virtual reality experiences, such as Blade Runner Revelations on the Mirage Solo, this one felt familiar. Standing in one place, I aimed at the remote and clicked to travel to another.
Some areas featured playable aspects, such as a sequence of switches I had to activate by aiming and clicking, or a hunk of rubble I had to fire with my bow. After playing the short game (which took me approximately 15 minutes) I was taken to a virtual movie theatre where I was able to watch the entire trailer.
After that, I checked out another virtual reality game for the new movie, Rampage VR. It put me in the kaiju boots of one of the three main monsters of the franchise, and I was free to roam simple city environments in first person, destroying buildings and battling the military.
I had to hold the touchpad and wave the remote up and down to move in the direction I was looking in order to walk, run, and climb. While the action felt strange at first, I quickly came to prefer it to the jarring point-and-shift waypoint-based navigation of other VR games like Tomb Raider VR.
To destroy buildings, I stared at the structures I wanted to strike while swinging the remote left and right; to pick up tanks and throw them at helicopters, I aimed the remote at a vehicle until it shimmered, held the trigger down, then aimed at my target before releasing.
Although it’s free and a promotional title, Rampage VR manages to be surprisingly enjoyable and immersive. Despite not being as immersive as the freeform two-handed control you get with the Oculus Rift or other tethered VR headsets, it takes the 3DOF constraints of the Oculus Go and works around them in ways that feel logical.
It’s not flashy, but it’s fun enough to kill a few hours with its combination of mindless smashing and light puzzle solving (in the form of gene splicing) to improve your monster of choice.
Neither “Rampage VR” nor “Tomb Raider VR” appear to be technologically sophisticated. Both games look like they could have been released for the PlayStation 2 in terms of model and texture intricacy.
In general, the visual quality of mobile VR headsets is not as high as that of their wired counterparts. Both games ran smoothly and reliably on the Oculus Go’s aging Snapdragon 821, though loading games and apps on the headset generally feel a bit slower than on the Mirage Solo.
Using the Oculus VR to watch videos is a breeze. It’s great fun to kick back in front of a virtual movie theatre screen. It would be great for binge-watching if the battery life wasn’t limited to three hours. You can use the Oculus Go while it’s connected in, but the provided micro USB cord is too short to be practical.
Oculus Go: Affordable and Accessible VR
It’s unrealistic to expect cutting-edge virtual reality technology from the Oculus Go, which retails for $200. Even more powerful Android-based VR takes a far larger investment than the Oculus Go does, and the greatest VR still requires large, thick wires extending from your headset to a PC or gaming console.
Naturally, that’s why you’d want an Oculus Go: It can be used independently and is cheap. You don’t need a smartphone or a computer or a PlayStation 4 to take it up and test it out. Despite the hardware’s limitations, there are just enough intriguing experiences to warrant the asking price.
For some, the experience alone is worth it to watch Netflix or Hulu in the comfort of a virtual theatre. Additional features such as a web browser, games, and an art and science app library are welcome touches.
Frequently Asked Question
Is Oculus Go Still Usable?
Owners of Oculus Go can continue using their devices. After December 18, 2020, we won’t be releasing any new Oculus Go features or updating the Oculus Store with any new Go apps. Through the year 2022, we’ll keep the system software updated with security updates and solutions for known issues.
Why Did Oculus Go End to Exist?
Facebook’s VR division took a big step forward with the launching of the Oculus Go in 2018, but the product didn’t last long. The Go was discontinued in 2020 since it was superseded by the Oculus Quest.
Is Oculus Go Superior to Quest?
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor is responsible for the device’s internal graphics. However, the OLED screen of the Oculus Quest, which has 1440 by 1600 resolution per eye, makes it far superior (2880 x 1600 resolution at 72Hz). Because of this, the visuals are smoother and the whole experience is enhanced.