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MIT Technology Review

Oculus hopes its $399 headset will bring virtual reality to the masses

So far, VR hasn't caught on. But a new device coming out next spring from Facebook-owned Oculus may convince more people to try the technology.

The new gear: Oculus said on Wednesday at its developer conference that it will be releasing Oculus Quest, its first self-contained headset that supports six degrees of freedom, or "6DoF," tracking to keep an eye on a user's head position and rotation. It will also include a pair of controllers to bring both of your hands into VR.

How it stacks up: The new headset will be more convenient than its predecessors. The Oculus Rift has to be connected to a powerful PC, which drives up cost, and it requires external sensors to enable 6DoF tracking. The Oculus Quest will also be more capable than Oculus Go, a $199 headset that doesn't require a computer but can only track the rotation of a user's head. That means you can turn your head left and right in VR using the goggles, but not move it up and down.

Why it matters: Oculus and Facebook have been trying for years to convince consumers that VR is the next big computing platform, but the market for the technology is still tiny.

A number of companies are starting to focus on how we might use virtual reality outside the home, such as on water slides. However, judging by the emphasis that Oculus put on gaming and entertainment at its new hardware's unveiling, it and Facebook are still convinced VR's biggest impact is going to be inside your living room.