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Facebook and Oculus Plan to Make VR Cheaper

Facebook and Oculus, the virtual reality company acquired by Facebook in 2012, are working on improvements to make VR tech more affordable and accessible.

At the Oculus Connect 3 event, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged the high cost of current VR products on the market, including the Oculus Rift. Zuckerberg also demonstrated a “standalone, affordable” headset the company is working on that wouldn’t need to be connected to a compatible PC.

Facebook has committed $330 million to fund “great software experiences” including games and entertainment, Zuckerberg announced. This is on top of an additional $330 million the company has already committed. 

The Oculus Rift retails for about $850. Previously the device was also required to be connected to a relatively high-end gaming PC, potentially costing an additional $1000+. However, Oculus announced new technology that allows the headset to work with PCs that cost half as much. The technology dubbed “Spacewarp” and “Timewarp” allows a lower end PC to output content at half the usual frame rate, with the headset filling in the gaps to make for a smooth experience.

Both Facebook and Oculus also gave more details on their separate social VR experiences. Facebook’s plan sees users interact with the animated avatars of others, who can explore 2D and 360 content, play virtual games like chess, and share Facebook posts in VR. Meanwhile, Oculus is working on highly customisable avatars, compatible with ‘Parties’ that let up to eight users interact and ‘Rooms’ that give groups a space to play games or watch movies.

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