While 2017 has been a battle between high-end tethered headsets Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR, with each one jockying for position with content sales, exclusives and hardware discounts, 2018 is looking to be an entirely different beast altogether. Next year is set to see the rise of standalone head-mounted displays (HMDs), devices that don’t need a separate PC or the addition of a smartphone. Due to arrive are Oculus Go and Vive Focus, two devices similar in function – the latter does have WorldSense inside-out tracking – that aim to capture a new segment of the market (or create one). Yet ahead of both of them is Chinese company Pico, which has now released its Goblin headset.
Pico has always worked in the standalone sector, first revealing the Pico Neo during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2016. While this is still in development, looking to be the company’s flagship device, just prior to E3 2017 it unveiled a more consumer focused product, the Pico Goblin. This features a 5.5inch TFT LCD and 2560×1440 resolution, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 CPU with 3G high-speed LPDDR4-1866 RAM and 16G eMMC 5.1 ROM. The headset also comes equipped with three-degrees-of-freedom (3DoF) head-tracking and a 3DoF tracking controller.
During E3 2017 VRFocus got some hands-on time with the Pico Goblin, finding it to be a very well made piece of kit in the short demo time available. As with any headset, while build quality is important so is content with Pico enlisting some well known virtual reality (VR) studios to help make this possible. Listed on its website are videogames like Wands by Cortopia Studios, AFFECTED: The Manor by Fallen Planet Studios, Slice & Dice by VROTEIN, QB by Playsys and The Wrath of Loki by The House of Fables to name a few.
Pre-orders for the Pico Goblin actually began back in June, with a $ 20 USD/£20 GBP/ €20 EUR saving for early adopters. Now that the launch has officially taken place you can purchase Pico Goblin off the official site for £269/€269/$ 269. If you happen to be in the US however, Amazon is running a 15 percent discount for an undisclosed period, dropping the price to $ 229 (there’s no listing on the UK website).
As Pico won’t be able to ride on a high profile brand like its competitors this early lead may help cement it in consumer markets before the other two arrive. Oculus Go is expected to begin shipping early in 2018, priced at $ 199 (USD), while Vive Focus pre-orders have begun for China only, with HTC still staying quiet on a worldwide release window. As the standalone VR headset market begins to take off, VRFocus will be there to keep you updated.