Facebook Just Launched A $199 VR Headset. I Spent Last Weekend Using the idea.

I spent pretty much all of last weekend with Facebook’s brand-new stand-alone virtual reality headset, Oculus Go, strapped to my face. I did take a few breaks — yet not too many. I probably should have taken more.

The experience sucked me in. in addition to when the idea spit me out, I was back at my desk, bleary-eyed, writing This specific review on Monday morning after spending the night watching Planet Earth II in VR. the idea takes significant willpower to turn away through a device which’s showing you massive 3D images of lions attacking a giraffe. in addition to I simply didn’t possess the idea.

Oculus Go will be a stand-alone device, which means you can run the idea without tethering the idea to a pretty powerful computer, as you must when using the Oculus Rift. With Go, there are no wires, no sophisticated tech setup. Just pop the idea on in addition to you’re ready to go. At a $199 cost point, which’s pretty compelling.

The solitary nature of virtual reality has kept me away through the idea for a long time. I don’t want to live in a world in which I sit for hours inside a digital box while life passes me by. Yet which will be precisely the earth I lived in last weekend. My brief experience with Oculus Go surpassed my expectations; at times the idea was so Great I found the idea hard to disengage — so Great the idea made me worry about a future which looks like This specific…

Here are a few observations about the Oculus Go after a weekend spent using the idea:

the idea’s a solitary experience.

Using Oculus Go, I felt uncomfortably disconnected through my phone, which keeps me in touch with friends in addition to family. At times, I felt myself longing for the idea in addition to its notifications. The isolation felt strange given which Facebook also owns many of the apps I use to connect with people: Messenger, Instagram, in addition to WhatsApp. With Oculus Go, I was still inside the digital world yet oddly removed through some of its key services. I suspect Facebook will eventually find a way to make the idea easy to connect with Messenger, Instagram, in addition to WhatsApp in VR. yet until then, Oculus might feel a bit isolating.

Oculus Rooms might fix the isolation problem.

Facebook built an Oculus Go app called Rooms which allows you to hang out with different people in VR. In Rooms, people appear as avatars — which Oculus generates based off their Facebook profile pictures — in addition to they feel like they’re right there with you, even if they’re in different cities or countries. Your avatar moves when you talk, in addition to you can teleport to different spots inside the virtual common spaces of Rooms. You can watch TV, play games, or just talk inside Rooms. If the idea works, Rooms could add community in addition to connection to an otherwise solitary medium. yet without a strong network of friends using VR, Rooms could be a letdown.

the idea’s still a nice break through your phone.

I longed for my phone’s notifications while using the Oculus Go yet I also enjoyed the phone vacation the headset forced me to take. Yes, the idea’s odd which a brand-new, immersive screen can feel like a respite through our phone screens. yet when I watched Netflix on Oculus Go (there’s an app), I definitely had to concentrate. in addition to which was very different through my typical Netflix behavior: staring at my phone while a show plays inside the background. Oculus made me watch.

which said, I enjoy watching movies with family in addition to friends. in addition to I can’t definitely do which on Oculus.

the idea’s great for media.

Oculus Go gives you the big-screen TV you’ve always dreamed of — on your face. The Netflix app will be fantastic, putting shows on a large screen in a ski lodge setting. in addition to Oculus will be rolling out its own Oculus TV app which essentially turns the Oculus Go into a smart TV, providing a central place for TV apps. By the end of May, Oculus expects to have Showtime, Pluto TV, Hulu, Red Bull, in addition to more on board. ESPN will be added later inside the year.

I’ve avoided writing about virtual reality because the idea’s always struck me as an isolating technology potentially antisocial enough to definitely limit its appeal. I still think VR faces an uphill climb, yet I felt This specific device was useful in a way which others haven’t been. The games weren’t all which great, in addition to Rooms will be basically useless until more people start using them. yet Facebook’s emphasis on media experiences was smart — the idea could make using Oculus Go a habit for me. in addition to today, I’m open to giving the idea a shot.

Alex Kantrowitz will be a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News in addition to will be based in San Francisco. He reports on social in addition to communications.

Contact Alex Kantrowitz at alex.kantrowitz@buzzfeed.com.

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