Peter Chou, the former HTC CEO that oversaw the company’s beginnings in the VR space, has a new company working on a new standalone headset that uses hand-tracking named Mova, and it’s making some hefty promises.
Mova — originally set to release in late 2019 — is anchored around two core aspects. First, there’s the 6DoF headset with inside-out tracking, which packs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset (a generation up from the 835 found inside an Oculus Quest) and 6GB RAM. Two front-mounted cameras are supposed to enable hand-tracked input (though the device also comes with a single controller).
XRSpace says the headset will be launching later this year, reportedly for $599. That makes it $200 more expensive than the 64GB model Oculus Quest standalone headset, which also features hand-tracking along with two hand controllers. A 128GB Quest model sells for $499. The device is even listed as available to pre-order now from its official website.
Another side of Mova, though, is the social platform it’s designed to support. XRSpace calls this Manova, and it sounds similar to previous attempts to establish a virtual metaverse. Check it out in the trailer below though, I stress, it appears highly conceptual right now.
XRSpace envisions it as a platform for friends to meet up and enjoy the same sorts of activities they might do in real life. Judging from the trailer that ranges from tried and true VR interactions like sharing a screen to watch movies, to more ambitious ideas like, somehow, sharing a drink. Later clips also present Manova as a space for virtual working, too.
Facebook itself is currently developing its second shot at a social VR platform in Facebook Horizon (which replaces the ill-fated Facebook Spaces). But, whereas some platforms like Rec Room seem to be thriving in this space, others have struggled to keep up, including Second Life developer Linden Lab, which sold off its Sansar platform in March. Aside from appearing on a new platform, it’s not clear what Manova offers to separate itself from the pack.
However, there’s much more to learn about Mova. For example, Manova appears to be exclusive to the headset, but what other apps will be coming to it? Will its hand-tracking input really be good enough for full-time use (Oculus Quest’s offering is good, but not good enough to sustain an entire platform)? We’ll need these questions answered before we can tell if Mova is worth its hefty price tag.
We’ll be keeping an eye on the device in the run-up to launch.