When Facebook launched the affordable Oculus Go virtual reality headset in May 2018, many industry observers thought that it would help bring VR to the masses. Unfortunately, that didn’t really happen, and Facebook retired the headset last year, with no updates released since then and no new apps added to the Go Store.
That’s bad news for all Oculus Go owners who enjoy using the headset for light VR experiences and multimedia consumption because it means that can’t take full advantage of its potential. What’s more, it’s possible that Facebook will someday shut down the over-the-air update server that’s used to update Oculus Go headsets to the latest version, preventing users who haven’t yet done so from obtaining the latest version of the underlying Android operating system.
Luckily, not all people at Oculus are okay with this, namely John Carmack, the company’s Chief Technology Officer and the lead programmer of games like Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake. “Something I have been pushing on for years is going to come to pass soon,” he tweeted in September. “We are going to make available an unlocked OS build for the Oculus Go headset that can be sideloaded to get full root access.”
Well, John Carmack has lived up to his promise because you can now download the unlocked OS build for Oculus Go from the Oculus Developer Center. The new build opens up the ability to repurpose the headset by providing low-level access to the Oculus OS on the Oculus Go device. To install it, you need to follow the instructions provided by Oculus, which require you to connect the Oculus Go to a computer by USB cable, allow ADB, and sideload the unlocked OS build by issuing a few commands.
From there, you’re free to do whatever your want with your headset. Just be careful because it doesn’t take much effort it break things with full root access. Hopefully, the unlocked OS build will inspire independent developers to use the affordable headset for all kinds of applications.