Tom Impallomeni: Oculus Go alone won’t change the market. Amazing content will.

Tom Impallomeni: Oculus Go alone won’t change the market. One thing that will is amazing content.

VR has arrived! No PC or wires attached, Oculus Go is up for grabs for $199 in the US. We spoke to Tribe founder and CEO Tom Impallomeni about what Oculus Go launch means for the VR industry, the importance of amazing VR content and VRLA 2018 where anyone can learn to DJ in VR with Tribe. 


What was your first reaction to the Oculus Go announcement?

Tom: It's great that Oculus has produced a wireless VR headset at a price point that makes VR accessible to all. It’s exactly what the industry needs at this point. The Oculus Go represents a significant step forward in value, and the quality is also high.


What are the advantages of Oculus Go and what are the limitations?

Tom: The advantages are: 

  • High quality standalone VR with no wires and no need to attach a mobile device (albeit a mobile phone is required to connect the app).
  • No cables. Recent PC-based VR headsets require a mess of wires. We believe strongly that simple, cheap, untethered VR is the future.  
  • For VR to become truly mainstream, it needs to "just work". Oculus Go represents a big step in simplicity for the users.
  • Low price point.

Oculus Go does indeed have some limitations: 

  • It's a 3DOF headset (not 6DOF) - so only 1 controller, and you aren’t able to move around in the way you can with the Oculus Rift or Vive. 
  • What this means in practice is that popular new games like Beat Saber are not available on Oculus Go. 

Here is a comparison of Oculus Go vs its competitors: 


To truly open up VR to the masses, we need to get to a point where wireless, 6DOF VR is readily available. Oculus’ first wireless 6DOF headset, codenamed “Santa Cruz”, is coming soon, and we can’t wait for it! 


What does the Oculus Go launch mean for the democratization of VR?

Tom: VR is coming, and Oculus Go will enable VR’s growth. Low cost standalone headsets are somewhat of a “gateway drug” for VR platforms, and a big step forward from mobile-driven headsets. 

For VR to go mainstream it needs to be : 

  • simple to us
  • cheap
  • High quality (resolution , 6DOF, etc)
  • have high quality content

One of the best things about Oculus Go is that you can be in VR within 5 seconds. This type of Frictionless VR is a game changer for the industry, which has needed iPhone-like accessibility for some time now!

This is the first step, and we’re excited that it will bring new users to VR. But Oculus Go alone won’t change the market. 

One thing that will is amazing content. At Tribe we enable people to learn faster in VR. Hit games such as Beat Saber and Space Pirate Trainer really help people come to VR, and are absolutely necessary for the medium, but VR is so much more than that. 


What's still preventing people from using VR beyond games?

Tom: We see XR as enabling so many different types of immersive experiences, including

  • Games
  • Training
  • Entertainment
  • Communications

…and so on. There is so much that these platforms offer beyond just gaming (albeit gamers are significant early adopters of VR, in part because they likely have laptops powerful enough to enable “tethered” VR experiences).

The things preventing people using VR at the moment are: 

  • difficulty in using headsets
  • costs
  • lack of great non-gaming content
  • awareness of the power of VR

The exciting thing is that we are now seeing the emergence of 

  • extremely high quality content, that monetizes well and retains users
  • seamless social interaction no matter your location, and
  • a move beyond 360 video to immersive, volumetrically captured filmed experiences. 

This is the next medium for the world, and we remain bullish on VR’s long-term potential. Married with AR, immersive technologies represent the future of communications and entertainment. Facebook articulated the importance of these mediums to their future very clearly at F8: 




So, can Tribe users learn to DJ in VR on Oculus Go?

Tom: At the moment Tribe users cannot use the Tribe app on Oculus Go because DJing requires you to be able to move within the experience, and to use two hands. Oculus go is a 3DOF VR headset with only one controller. We're exploring whether to adapt Tribe to a 3DOF setup, but for now we expect that Tribe requires people to use two controllers. Given Oculus Go is the first step on the untethered VR journey, creating accessible 6DOF headsets for all would be a natural next step that will really move the market, and we can’t wait until that moment. 

In the meantime, Tribe is available on Oculus Rift, Oculus Go’s 6DOF “tethered” equivalent. We hope to be porting to Oculus Santa Cruz as soon as tethered 6DOF is available to the masses, so stay tuned!


Speaking about Tribe users, what features do they love most?

Tom: Tribe is the Immersive Learning platform for real-world skills. Our first product, the Tribe VR DJ School, allows users to learn how to DJ in VR. It’s more efficient, effective and fun than current equivalent methods (watching youtube videos, taking classes, or asking your friends to teach you!).

We have recreated a professional grade DJ setup - similar to those found in nightclubs - on which users learn how to mix their own sets. There is nothing else like this on the market - we are not mimicking vinyl, we have a professional grade setup with the features you’d expect.

Our users really love being able to use their own music in Tribe, and most importantly, getting into Tribe with either live tutors or their friends. In Tribe, you can get a live DJ lesson from a professional tutor, no matter your location, and train on pro grade equipment (which can cost in excess of $6k dollars), without leaving your home, using only your VR kit. Being able to share that experience with friends in other locations is unique and powerful. 

In fact, it supports the vision espoused by Facebook for Oculus - that the power of VR is in “defying distance”. I recently gave a live lesson from the Bay Area, to a student in London, and it was awesome. That something unique to VR, and speaks volumes for the power of the medium.


For those who have not tried Tribe VR DJ School yet, what are they missing out on?

Tom: If you have ever wondered how DJing works, or you are a DJ yourself, you should definitely try out Tribe. 

And, more than that, if you just enjoy getting together with your friends and making or listening to music together, we’ve built the platform for you to do this, in VR. 


Tribe is available on Oculus at:


Meet us at VRLA 2018!

We're super excited to take part in VRLA on May 4 and 5! Come join us and learn to DJ in VR at Boot E58. We promise you will have LOTS OF FUN! 

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