Oculus is busy preparing to ship its standalone VR headset, the Oculus Go, early this year. But it decided to also carve out some time during CES 2018 to announce how it's partnership with Xiaomi is going. Spoilers: They're releasing a headset together.
That's right, Oculus and Xiaomi are partnering up on the worldwide launch of the Oculus Go. What that basically means is that Oculus will release the Go in most of the world, and Xiaomi will release the Mi VR Standalone in China. The Mi VR Standalone is actually built on the same tech as the Go.
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They both use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 Mobile VR Platform, and they both use the Oculus Mobile SDK. The same 2K LCD displays, integrated spatial audio, 3DoF tracking, and "next generation" VR optics are also present. In fact, the Go and Mi VR Standalone look nearly identical save for the logos and slightly different shades of gray.
The collaboration goes further than hardware too, as Xiaomi and Oculus are working together to localize some of the most popular content in the Oculus Store for the Chinese market. However, instead of living in the Oculus Store, VR content like games, apps and 360-degree videos will live in the Mi VR Store in China.
This is a pretty savvy and strategic move on the part of Oculus. The company gets an in on the Chinese market with Xiaomi, one of the most popular companies in China. On Xiaomi's side, they get to take a nice leap and present a higher-end alternate to its popular Mi VR Play 2 mobile headsets.
It also doubles up as a nice counter to HTC's plans for the Vive Focus, a standalone headset that's aimed exclusively at China. That one comes with a new platform called Vive Wave, which will help developers build out content. So as we prepare for the inevitable Vive Pro vs Oculus Santa Cruz battle in the US and elsewhere, it looks like China is gearing up for a VR smackdown between the Focus and Mi VR Standalone.
There's no word on pricing or availability on the Mi VR Standalone, but it's likely they start shipping around the same time the Oculus Go starts shipping. As for pricing, it's unclear whether the Mi VR Standalone will undercut the $199 price tag of the Go.