So, Tom ordered an Oculus Go and we had a chance to try it last night. This tech is mind-blowing. It’s not perfect, but it’s a huge win for Facebook. Reviews are all over the Internet, so I’ll just focus on the social and cultural implications. First, this is personalized, non-shareable tech, which guarantees we’re eventually all going to be sitting around with these headsets on, interacting through the VR, but not directly with each other. We can play and consume media “together” via our avatars. The porn is expected to be huge.
Second, it has the potential to kill traditional modes of media consumption. I was surprised to see Netflix as one of the first apps on the system and blown away when I experienced what it was like to watch a show in the Go. It’s hard to describe, but the tech transports you to your own personal movie theatre. To say it’s immersive is an understatement. (And, for me, a little nauseating. It’s going to take some getting used to.)
Third, it’s pretty inexpensive, considering what it delivers, which means adoption should be speedy. We got the 64GB model which was $250; the 32GB model is $200. For a high-quality standalone VR experience like this, it’s an incredible bargain. Obviously, it’s no Oculus Rift, but for the mass market, it’s genius.
Facebook has done an amazing job engineering this for the mainstream consumer. It’s a cool tech gray with stretchy straps that easily adjust in three different places with velcro. It’s surprisingly lightweight, has an easy to install spacer for those of us who wear glasses, and quite comfy to wear. Setup for these digital-savvy boomers was a bit confusing at first because there’s no manual. But digital-savvy millennials will have this thing humming in about 5 minutes. It took us a few minutes to figure out that all the setup was through the phone app and then it was a piece of cake.
There are a bunch of apps, mostly paid, and more coming. No doubt we can expect some serious headset competition in short order. I haven’t experimented with the Facebook apps, but we can guess that “social” is going to be a big component of what comes down the pike.
It’s hard to explain what it’s like inside the Go, but it doesn’t take long before you feel like you’re IN the universe inside the headset. Your VR body becomes more present than your physical body. If you haven’t read Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, you need to go and do it now. The future is here and honestly, I’m a little bit worried…