Facebook has just taken a big step forward in VR. Oculus, its VR company, announced on Monday it would launch a VR device in China through a partnership with Xiaomi.
The Oculus device is named Mi VR. In essence, Mi VR is the same as the Oculus Go sold in overseas markets. Mi VR is an independent VR device, which Oculus introduced in October 2017.
The main difference between Oculus Go and Mi VR is that the software for Mi VR is provided by Xiaomi. Oculus Go’s software is provided by Facebook. Both Mi VR and Oculus Go are equipped with Qualcomm snapdragon chips.
It’s worth mentioning that Hugo Barra was Xiaomi’s vice president for four years before he joined Facebook last year as its vice president of VR. During his tenure at Xiaomi, his main job was to help Xiaomi expand its overseas business. Now he is helping Facebook to expand its business in China.
Mi VR will be released at CES in Las Vegas. Facebook did not disclose the exact date and price of the device. A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment. When Facebook introduced Oculus Go in October, it said Oculus Go would be sold in early 2018 at a price of $199.
Since acquiring Oculus four years ago, Facebook has been pushing VR to become a mainstream consumer technology. Facebook only has one VR product, the Oculus Rift, which is an expensive device for gaming and VR enthusiasts. Oculus also partnered with Samsung to launch the Samsung Gear VR.
With Oculus Go and Mi VR, Oculus is clearly hoping to attract more users. Oculus Go does not need to connect to PCs and mobile phones, meaning it can be used independently. The device will fill the gap between PC VR and mobile VR.