Living With The Oculus Go Headset
The initial setup process of the Oculus Go is simple, but it requires an Android or iOS device with a companion app to configure. When you first run the Oculus app, the software will pair with your headset via Bluetooth and then ask you to enter the credentials for your Wi-Fi network so the device can download updates. It also has you configure the controller for left or right-handed use.
Sit, Don't Stand
Once you've got the Go paired and you're ready to start playing, pick a nice chair for yourself and stay seated. Unlike the Rift and other spatially-tracked VR systems, the Go doesn’t include internal or external sensors to track headset position. You aren't meant to walk around with it on and could hurt yourself if you do.
Not For Young Children
For kids under 13, this device should be called the "No Go." Like other VR makers, Oculus advises against putting the headset on children who are 12 or younger, fearing that it could affect their development.
Extensive App Library
The Oculus Go headset is surprisingly capable, and there is a large library of content available for it. On launch day, the new headset will adopt the entire library of Gear VR content, which has more than 1000 games and apps. Whether you wish to be transported to fantasy land, or seek to learn about the universe, there should be something in the Oculus store for everyone from teenagers to seniors.
A TV Screen Replacement
If you don't have a large screen TV in every room of your house (and who does), the Oculus Go could give you a large canvas for movie-viewing. While earlier VR headsets lacked the clarity required to replace your TV, Oculus Go, with its new lenses and improved display panels, is the first VR device that you can use for long Netflix sessions.
Netflix and Hulu offer apps for the Oculus Go, and you can access YouTube content through the native web browser. I was surprised at just how much I enjoyed consuming video content on the Go. I tried watching TV on Netflix with our GearVR, and while it certainly worked, I found that one episode of a show was enough time in the headset. While testing the Go, I spent multiple hours in the headset and ran the headset’s battery to the warning point.
Cross-Platform Multiplayer Experiences
The Oculus Go and Gear VR share the same development platform and multiplayer games that run on the Gear VR will automatically run on the Oculus Go. Developers can also enable cross-play with gamers using Rift headsets.
Earlier this year, at GDC, we had a chance to try a short demo of Settlers on Oculus Go in an online match with Oculus Rift players. And Settlers isn’t an anomaly. Many of the games that you can find one the Oculus Store are single-player titles, but Oculus is encouraging developers to make multiplayer games for the platform. The company also encourages devs to make their games compatible across all Oculus VR platforms when applicable.
The Go is, by far, the most comfortable mobile VR headset that I’ve ever tried. In fact, it’s more comfortable than most high-end, VR headsets that I've tried. I would rather spend two hours with a Go on my face than just about any other head-mounted display.
The headset lacks spatial tracking, which limits the types of experiences that you can enjoy with it. But most people would be more than satisfied to sit on their couch or lay in their bed, and play a stationary game or watch a movie.
If you want the best VR experience money can buy, consider the HTC Vive, Vive Pro or Oculus Rift, all of which offer a more immersive experience. And, if you have a compatible phone and want to save the money, Samsung's Gear VR is a great value. However, the Oculus Go offers the best balance between price and user experience of any headset you can buy.
MORE: Virtual Reality Basics