Field of view: Big VR and AR news from Oculus Connect 6

New VR prototypes, AR headset plans and much more
The week in AR and VR
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Welcome to Field of view, which this week we've turned into a bit of an Oculus Connect 6 special.

The annual developer conference took place this week and threw up a host of big VR and AR news that we are going to catch you all up on below.

Read more: The best VR headsets to buy now

There's augmented reality headset chat, big news for Oculus Quest owners and a few more stories we think you're going to want to hear about.

To top that Oculus Connect lot off, we've also picked out a brand new VR experience for you to try out today.

So read on, enjoy, and let us know in the comments which of the Oculus Connect 6 announcement you are most excited about.

Oculus Connect 6 announcements

Half Dome 2 and Half Dome 3 are future Oculus prototypes

Field of view: Oculus Connect brings myriad announcements

Last year, Oculus showed off a prototype it called Half Dome, with a variable focus system to make VR mimic real sight more closely.

At Oculus Connect 6, it's shown off a further couple of versions it's working on - Half Dome 2 and Half Dome 3. Both boast newer versions of that same focus variability, but also concentrate on reducing their form factors. You can see the older headset on the left above, to see how much the reduction means in size.

To get those significantly reduced sizes, some of the field of view improvements that came to Half Dome have been lost, though. Even so, the field of view still beats both the Quest and Rift headsets currently available, so these are still exciting possibilities.

Oculus Link turns Quest into a Rift

Part of what makes the Oculus Quest so brilliant is the fact that it's a seamless VR headset that doesn't rely on external hardware, so doesn't require you to have a powerful gaming PC to power it.

That said, Facebook has made an exciting announcement that makes the Quest a much more flexible headset. Launching in November, Oculus Link will let Quest users connect their headset via USB-C cable to their PC, turning it into a fully-functional PC VR headset.

That means that every Oculus app will suddenly be usable on the Oculus Quest, provided you've got a PC that makes the grade in terms of specs. This makes the Quest an even better entry point to VR - it can run great experiences on its own, and will soon be able to adapt to higher-powered versions if you want it to.

Facebook confirms it's working on an AR headset

Facebook having plans for AR is nothing new - we've been covering its moves into the augmented realms for a while now.

It's nice, then, that subterfuge was left at the door at Oculus Connect 6 - Facebook openly confirmed that it's working on an AR headset. It doesn't sound like it's at a particularly advanced stage of hardware development, though, instead choosing to focus on the foundations it's laying for AR work.

It showed off a database it's building called LiveMaps, essentially a collection of information about the world and its makeup, which it says is key to helping AR software understand what it's looking at and the spaces within which it exists. We'll be keeping an eye out to see when this might actually lead to some hardware.

Ditch the controllers, hand-tracking is coming to Oculus Quest

We covered an intriguing development in finger-tracking from Google in Field of view a couple of weeks ago, but didn't expect Oculus to bring its own advances to the table so soon afterward.

It announced new hand-tracking for the Oculus Quest, meaning that you'll soon be able to control the Quest without needing any controllers at all. The feature is slated to go live in early 2020, as an "experimental" feature, which sounds a lot like a beta test to us. The tech isn't as advanced as that impressive Google demo, with its individual finger shapes and recognition, but given it runs on existing hardware it's still mighty cool-looking.

It's great to see that between this and Oculus Link the Oculus Quest is getting considerable post-release support, making it a key part of Facebook and Oculus' ambitious plans for the market.

Medal of Honor is back as an Oculus exclusive

We've known for some time that Respawn Entertainment and Oculus Studios were working on a game together, but the wraps came off at Connect 6. The storied Medal of Honor franchise is back, people.

Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond features both a narrative campaign and multiplayer modes, and is being billed as a full AAA release for VR, and will apparently encourage a slower pace of play that lets players revel in the authentic details around them.

Read next: Best Oculus Quest games, apps and experiences

Players will take on the role of a member of the Office of Strategic Service in World War II, infiltrating behind Nazi lines, which sounds a bit stressful. The game will launch in 2020 as an Oculus exclusive, needless to say. You can get a first glimpse in the trailer above.

Oculus for Business, Facebook Horizons and Oculus Go apps for Quest

Field of view: Oculus Connect brings myriad announcements

Yes, the Connect announcements keep coming with the unveiling of Oculus for Business. The platform, releasing in November, will make it easier for businesses to scale up their use of VR with loads of headsets at once, and scale back the UI to relevant uses.

There's also Facebook Horizons, a new social VR experience coming in 2020, letting friends play bite-sized games together and, eventually, build and design their own experiences for each other to try out. All this will be explored with customisable Mii-like avatars.

Finally, Facebook also announced that compatible apps from the Oculus Go marketplace will also work on the Oculus Quest, with some 50 available from the start. That rounds off a pretty good Oculus Connect for the Quest.

Try this: Vader Immortal: A Star Wars Story Episode II

Everyone loves a good surprise release, and Oculus obliged this year, with ILMxLAB rocking up to drop the next episode of its Vader Immortal series, Vader Immortal: A Star Wars Story Episode II.

The first Vader Immortal was a great way to show off your VR kit, with a high-quality rendering of some of well-known Star Wars locations and characters in a tightly-directed a narrative experience.

The second looks like it ramps things up even further, with new gestures and powers, and is available now for Oculus Quest and Rift devices. It costs $9.99, the same as the previous episode, and should have a third and final chapter to come at some point in the future.

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