It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell exactly where virtual reality headsets are going and what kind of major upgrades next-gen VR gear is likely to adopt as key selling points. It’s all about standalone functionality… and a little about eye tracking technology, with positional tracking features probably due for a refinement effort as well, not to mention a desperate need for better, smoother, more immersive content.

Bottom line, companies like Oculus, HTC, Sony, Samsung and Google still have a lot of work to do to break this niche into the tech industry mainstream. But it’s certainly promising to see the first Rift consumer edition cost just $399 with a pair of Touch controllers bundled in, as well as hear Facebook’s rookie untethered effort may go for as little as $200 next year.

This wouldn’t only be a wireless product, including everything it needs right out the box to play a movie, transport you into a riveting gaming universe or take your social networking to the next level all by itself. No cables, no connected smartphone or PC.

No bulky design either, it seems, with Oculus reportedly eyeing a lower weight figure than the Samsung Gear VR. That’s less than 345 grams, mind you, which would be a remarkable feat of engineering given the mysterious extra display, Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and other components this more compact Rift has to incorporate.

In order to keep the $200 price so crazy low, the market pioneer could omit essential positional tracking tech, which doesn’t sound so hot, with Xiaomi tipped to handle the independent headset’s actual production. The former Chinese employer of Facebook VPVR Hugo Barra would even get to self-brand the device domestically, with the Oculus name of course taking over everywhere else. Expect a formal announcement as early as October, followed by a 2018 commercial rollout.

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