Oculus Connect 3 has kicked off in San Francisco, and the event has seen a raft of announcements. As all the head honchos took to the stage minus one Palmer Luckey.
And they didn't hold back. A new Rift in the works, news on the Touch controller and a bunch of new games showed that Oculus isn't resting on its laurels.
Read on for a full recap of all OC3 including new games, cheaper PC VR and of course, those upcoming controllers.
Standalone Oculus Rift
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg coyly announced a new project the Oculus team is working on that left us all anxious to learn more. Apparently the next iteration of Rift will be standalone, which Zuck says is the needed sweet spot between mobile and high end PC VR.
Right now, the device is only a prototype called Santa Cruz and he was quick to mention it's still in the early days.
Oculus Touch will be available on 6 December with pre-orders kicking off 10 October for a pricey $199. W0w. We already knew this thanks to a reporter from Engadget spilling the beans awhile ago. What we didn't know was that the controllers will come bundled with VR Sports Challenge and The Unspoken. Touch also comes with an additional sensor and a connector for Rock Band VR.
HTC Vive has successfully implemented room scale and Oculus will follow suit by releasing an extra sensor for $79. This was implied in July earlier this year but now it's official to buy when Touch launches.
New Touch games
A ton of games have already been announced for the controllers but it seems developers have been working hard at a bunch more titles. A few are shooters, while most emphasize social VR and all look fun as hell. Arktika.1 from 4A Games is a shooter that's set in a frozen dystopian future, Lone Echo from Ready at Dawn involves intense floaty space adventures with campaign and multiplayer while Robo Recall from Epic Games has you fighting waves of robots - complete with hilarious explainers.
Kingspray will take on Vive's Tilt Brush by adding elements of multiplayer while you create works of art with graffiti.
New Oculus Earphones
The audio on Rift is already pretty good, but Oculus decided it would give you some options. Should you want "passive noise isolation " earbuds, the Oculus Earphones will be available for pre-order on 10 October and ship out 6 December for $49.
Social gets serious
Zuckerberg drew attention to the need for social in VR, and demoed avatars, a feature that lets you customize your very own character to 'be' in VR. Apparently there are more than one billion combos to choose from including clothing, accessories, colors and more. Avatars will be available for Rift at Touch launch and for mobile in early 2017.
To really get the party started with friends, you can turn to Samsung Gear VR for parties and rooms. Oculus Parties lets you start a voice call with up to eight people from anywhere in VR where Oculus Rooms lets you instantly meet up with friends in VR to hang out, watch movies, or launch into a new game together. You won't have to wait long to try the new features as both Parties and Rooms will ship for Gear VR in the coming weeks.
Affordable PC VR for all
Oculus hasn't been shy about letting everyone know PC VR would go down in price over time. We didn't know 'over time' meant sooner rather than later. Thanks to whizzbang tech called 'Asynchronous Spacewarp,' Oculus has been able to release new minimum required specs for PCs to run the Rift. With lower CPU and GPU requirements, people can get into VR at a lower cost with a wider range of hardware.
Previously, you needed at Intel i5-4590 (or more powerful) processor, an NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD R9 290 graphics card or better, 8GB+ of RAM, a HDMI 1.3 output, 3x USB 3.0 ports and 1x USB 2.0 and you need to be running Windows 7 64-bit or later.
With the announcement, you'll need an Nvidia GTX 960 or greater, Intel i3-6100 / AMD FX4350 or greater, 8GB or more of RAM, compatible HDMI 1.3 video output, 1x USB 3.0 port and 2x USB 2.0 ports plus Windows 8 or newer for the operating system.
There's also even more VR-ready laptops you can get from Asus, Gigabyte, Lenovo and Aorus.
More money for devs means more games
Facebook is throwing tons more money at VR by investing $250m to its previous $250m. Additionally, there will be more programs to for burgeoning developers and content creators.
Through Oculus NextGen, select universities will receive access to Unity workshops complete with tech from Samsung, AMD and of course, Oculus. $10m is also being used to launch new diversity programs like the Diverse Filmmakers Project and continuing programs, Launch Pad, VR for Good and Amplified New Voices.
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