Facebook held a VR-focused Oculus event today where the company anounced a new standalone VR headset that promises to offer the same power as the PC-tethered Oculus Rift. Codenamed Santa Cruz, the new Oculus project aims to be the next step for wireless VR technology.
"Ever since building Rift, our dream has been to bring the magic of a PC VR experience to an untethered form factor. That's why we were so excited to share our early work with Santa Cruz at Oculus Connect last year," wrote Oculus Facebook in a statement following its announcement.
The Santa Cruz project evolved from last year's version which was simply just a headset. The new version now includes two "positionally tracked controllers" which the company says is an industry-first. The controllers work thanks to advancements in inside-out tracking with sensors built into the headset. The company promises natural and unrestrained movement while the headset deliver PC-quality VR.
Until now, top performing VR headsets required the assistance of a PC (or a PlayStation 4 for the PSVR) to achieve VR a greater gaming experience than the ones you'd find on a mobile VR headset like the Gear VR. If Santa Cruz can deliver PC-level VR without the need of a separate PC, that would be a big step to make VR more accessible. Although price and release date for the Santa Cruz is still unknown, along with a host of other important bits of information like battery life.
The news coincides with a permanent price drop to $399, presumably because PC-tethered VR will be outdated in the next couple years.
Developer units of the Santa Cruz will apparently ship sometime next year, so expect more updates in the coming months.