With Oculus Rift launching next month and PlayStation VR and the HTC Vive coming later in the year, 2016 is shaping up to be a big year for virtual reality. Now, it looks like web giant Google might be getting into the mix in a major way, beyond what it’s already doing in the space with Google Cardboard.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Google is working on an “all-in-one” VR headset that separates itself from the pack in that it does not need a computer, game console, or smartphone to power it. The $600 Oculus Rift requires a somewhat high-end PC, while PlayStation VR, rumored to cost $400-$600, is powered by the PlayStation 4, which starts at $350.
The $100 Samsung Gear VR, meanwhile, runs on the latest Samsung devices, which can cost hundreds of dollars.
One person reportedly familiar with Google’s VR plans told the site that the headset will include a screen, “high-powered processors,” and multiple outward-facing cameras. Chips from startup Movidius will supposedly be used for the device.
The WSJ‘s report didn’t have any details on pricing for Google’s rumored standalone VR device, while launch timing details are fuzzy. One source said Google is planning to unveil the device this year, possibly during the company’s annual developer conference in May, while two others said it’s possible the headset never gets released at all.
Speaking at an event this week, Google’s VR chief Clay Bavor said Google’s goal with VR is to make it “available for everyone,” teasing that an announcement is coming later this year.
“We’ll have some more to share later in the year,” he said.
Google’s rumored new VR device is separate from the upgraded version of the low-cost Cardboard device that WSJ‘s sources say will launch this year. This tallies with a report from The Financial Times earlier this week that said the same thing.
In other news about virtual reality, here’s a video of Valve boss Gabe Newell doing his impression of Oprah when announcing a Vive giveaway.