Facebook may be looking to sell a standalone virtual reality headset next year for $200, capable of working without a linked PC or mobile device.
The unnamed device will be tailored to customers that cannot afford a high-spec PC or mobile, according to Bloomberg. The report did not say if the device will be a loss leader, bankrolled by Facebook in the hope of getting VR into more homes.
Even with the reduction in cost, Facebook is hoping that the VR headset will be able to power immersive games, alongside video and social networking services.
Facebook will partner with Xiaomi to launch the product in China, everywhere else it will be under the Oculus brand. Xiaomi will supposedly add its own branding and software to the device.
Better than Gear VR?
The report suggests the device will be more powerful than the Gear VR, Samsung’s own headset that is powered by the company’s high-end smartphones. It will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, although the report does not say which one.
Facebook is clearly not happy with the current sales figures for Oculus, estimated between 100,000 to 400,000. It recently lowered the price of the Rift for the second time, down to $399 for the Rift and Touch controllers.
To fix this, the social network may be looking at bridging the cost gap, even if it means going into the red for a few years while the technology becomes cheaper and the audience gets more engaged.
It is expected to announce the VR headset later this year, with a launch date sometime in 2018.