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Facebook Unveils Oculus Rift S Headset, Ups the Ante in VR

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In a bid to popularize its virtual reality offerings among the masses, Facebook FB has unveiled a new virtual reality (VR) headset – Oculus Rift S. Notably, the social media giant has partnered with Lenovo LNVGY to introduce significant changes in the latest version of its VR headset.

The new headset is equipped with built-in cameras, which can track the user’s environment without using external sensors. Additionally, Rift S boasts a halo headband and Passthrough+ feature, which enables users to catch a glimpse of their surrounding without taking off the headset.

Further, users can play games launched on the original Rift platform on the Rift S. Notably, the new features are exclusively designed to enhance user experience and boost engagement throughout 2019.

More on the Headlines

Apart from the release of Oculus Rift S, Facebook bolstered its presence in the VR headset space with the release of Oculus Quest in spring 2019. Both the devices sport similar features and carry a similar price tag of $399.

The devices are designed to offer cross-play and cross-buy features, which will allow users to upgrade from Quest to Rift S. Moreover, multiplayer games, which are supported on both Quest and Rift S will enable users to play one another, irrespective of the device they use.

However, while Rift S requires a PC connection for its higher-resolution graphics, Quest does not require a smartphone or desktop support to function. This gives users the choice to select the appropriate headset depending on the device they have. 

Per The Verge, Rift S is also expected to launch two exclusive game titles, including a combat-focused game, Asgard’s Wrath, and an open-world game, Stormland. Notably, the introduction of new games will aid the company in luring users on its platform.

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Solid Growth Prospects in VR Lead to Stiff Competition

Virtual reality technology has been gaining significant traction in recent times driven by its affordability and wide-scale availability.

Per reports from MarketWatch, the global VR headset market is expected to witness CAGR of 35% between 2016 and 2022 to reach $5 billion.

Per SuperData, VR headset sales surged 30% to $3.6 billion in 2018, led by Sony’s SNE PlayStation VR and Facebook's Oculus Go. While Sony shipped 700,000 headsets in the last holiday season 2018 alone, Facebook shipped 550,000 devices.

However, Samsung’s Gear VR substantially underperformed in 2018 with total shipments declining 58.6% year over year.

Recently, HP HPQ also revealed its high-end VR headset, Reverb, which features “inside-out" tracking and improved picture quality. Notably, the headset’s 4K resolution feature makes it among the powerful headset devices in the market today. However, the device is expensive compared to its competitors.

Other tech giants, including Amazon and Microsoft, are also scrambling to grab a share in the VR market space. While Amazon uses AR/VR technologies in fields like healthcare, autonomous driving and wealth management, Microsoft has directed its efforts toward mixed reality (MR), which stands for a combination of AR and VR technology.

Facebook currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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