There was a lot to take in during today’s Oculus Connect 5 keynote presentation. The developer conference takes place each year in San Jose, California, bringing out everything new in the realm of Oculus’ flagship virtual reality platform. The announcements were streamed exclusively on Facebook and lasted just under two hours. We’ve put together some of the top reveals to give you a TL;DR version.
Here are some of the most important announcements coming from the presentation.
Although it’s not entirely PC focused, the Oculus Quest brings the ability to bundle VR in a single, wireless package. There is now no PC needed to enjoy Oculus Rift quality titles. There is a Quest bundle that comes with touch controls, which provides it a slight edge over its less expensive competitors. The Oculus Quest will release in Spring of 2019 for a price-point of $399.
Oculus Rift = High End
With the introduction of the Oculus Quest, it’s not as if the Oculus Rift is going out the window. Instead, the platform will be the premiere, high-end platform for VR from Oculus. Some of the games featured in the presentation included OrbusVR, an MMO that has an upcoming expansion in 2019. Then there was Vox Machinae, from developer Space Bullet. The three-person team was one of the first to receive an Oculus grant in 2014. It was announced that it launches today.
Ubisoft also announced that Space Junkies will be launching later this year. Insomniac jumped on the bandwagon with Stormland, an open-world title. And lastly, Ready at Dawn is extending the Lone Echo universe with Lone Echo II: Venture Beyond the Unknown. The Rift will continue game support with titles launching “well into 2020.”
Rift Interface Changes
The Rift interface is changing once again, with the Rift interface hitting a beta that launches today. The “home” area allows you to chisel out your own space in VR. You can add decorative items inside your world. Lucy Chen, Product Manager at Oculus, outlined that there would also be developer created items to add. Developers will also have the ability to migrate some of these items to Steam. Superhot statue, anyone?
One of the updates also includes new expressive avatars. You can look into a virtual avatar’s eyes, and you now have the ability to also detect mouth movements.
VR And AR, Mount Up!
It almost seems inevitable that virtual reality and augmented reality would eventually blend together. A short demo from Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, vice president of AR/VR at Facebook, featured some early designs as to what that might look like. Imagine sitting at your desk, typing out a message, and the word processor you’re using shows up on a virtual screen. Although this might seem like something completely intended for business collaboration, I can foresee this becoming part of streaming culture with environments such as Discord and Twitch.
It’s not the number of connections that matter–it’s the depth of those connections
The last portion of the Oculus Connect 5 was probably the most important. There was a slew of predictions surrounding the progression and development of virtual reality as a whole from chief scientist Michael Abrash. He has been making predictions regarding the evolution of VR throughout the years. So what’s next?
Abrash mentions that in the future, both augmented reality and virtual reality will come to blend together for one, seamless, and “socially acceptable” form of accessories to wear on a regular basis. The discussion is far too lengthy (and complex for that matter) for a full rundown here. You can skip to the latter portion of the presentation by clicking here.
Has your opinion on VR changed over the years? And if you haven’t yet purchased a VR headset, will you now?