This is not the 'Oculus Killer' you're looking for

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This is not the 'Oculus Killer' you're looking for

It takes a special kind of crazy to show up to the biggest consumer electronics show on Earth, to pay for an exhibition space next to Oculus VR and then advertise your product as an "Oculus killer." That's exactly what 3DHead did with its "GCS3" headset. That phrase is even painted on their booth, as seen above.

Given all that, you're probably pretty interested in seeing the company's headset, right? It's probably super sleek, right? Forgive me, but you absolutely have to head below to see this madness. I assure you, you won't regret it.


Yes, this is really the headset in question: The "Oculus Killer." As in, "The device we are making that'll beat out Oculus VR's Rift headset." Which, what? As far as I can tell, this isn't actually a VR headset at all. It's a very large head-mounted device with a 7-inch tablet strapped to one side. There's an open-air gap, whereas VR headsets otherwise aim to close off users in an immersive viewing environment (read: closed off from the outside world). Rather than duplicating the video feed (one for each eye) and using lenses, 3DHead's GCS3 headset is like a miniaturized personal theater.

That is the only time I'll use the word "miniaturized" in relation to this monstrosity.


3DHead's GCS3 is a whopping 1.7 pounds. That might not sound like a lot, but it certainly feels like a lot when it's mounted on your head via an obtusely large headset. Company COO James Jacobs says the weight is a measure of two things: the battery (one pound by itself), and the means of production for the prototype headset (SLS printing -- a form of 3D printing used for rapid prototyping). He says the weight will be halved by production.

I could probably get past the unit being rough if it delivered a unique, interesting experience. What it does instead is mount a generic 7-inch tablet inside of an enormous shell. It looks like an even larger version of Oculus Rift prototypes from years ago, like this one that Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey sent us awhile back:

Notice that even the prototype above, from 2010, is smaller than 3DHead's massive headset.


Again, the size wouldn't be as much of a concern (at least initially) if the headset offered a truly unique, engaging experience. As it is, this thing is miles from even the first Oculus Rift dev kit. Are you ready for the kicker? Because there's still a kicker. Really!

3DHead's GCS3 costs $595. That is not a typo. It includes both the massive headset part and the tablet insert. Here's the product page.

To its credit, when you move your head, it does indeed move on screen. In a brief demo of Minecraft running on the headset, I was able to turn my head and look around the pixelly world on the tablet in front of me. But, in the nicest possible way I can ask this, why would I ever use this to play Minecraft? It's not a VR version of Minecraft -- it's a head-controlled version of Minecraft on a tablet. It's an extremely cumbersome way to play games, or watch videos, or really to do anything.

All of that is to say what I've already said in the headline: This is not the "Oculus Killer" you're looking for. Sorry about the obvious Star Wars reference.

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