This week was a huge week for the world of virtual reality, as Oculus Connect 4 happened. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave the keynote, announcing a bunch of new things before handing the reigns over to Hugo Barra, the company's VP of virtual reality.
We learned that Oculus' standalone headset, the Go, is coming near the end of this year for $200. We also got an update on Santa Cruz, the high-end standalone headset from the company, in that it's got some fancy new controllers that are tracked by sensors in the helmet. We also got to take it for a spin.
Hands-on: Oculus Santa Cruz review
Getting lost in all of the new stuff is that the Rift is now permanently $399 after what seems to be a successful Summer of Rift promotion.
But there's been much more in the world of AR and VR, including some Oculus announcements we didn't even get to. So let's get to it, shall we?
Read this: News blips and tidbits
Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire gets a release date
Disney and The Void's team-up on creating a Star Wars VR experience made big news when it was first announced, but there were a couple of questions they hadn't answered, like when it would open, how much it would cost, and what it would look like.
Now we know those things. Secrets of the Empire will open 16 December at Disney Springs in Walt Disney World and 5 January at Downtown Disney in Disneyland. The trailer reveals that you'll play a group of four rebel spies posing as Stormtroopers on a mission to recover... something dangerous.
The 30 minute experience will cost $29.95 and you can buy your tickets now. Just be warned: They are selling quick.
NBA to broadcast every game in VR
The NBA has dabbled in broadcasting a game here and a game there in VR, so that you could pick up your Samsung Gear VR and enjoy watching the Golden State Warriors sink a barrage of threes on practically everyone. Now it's going a step further, broadcasting every game in VR.
If you've got League Pass and either a Gear VR or Google Daydream headset, you can use the NextVR app to watch all of the games. You'll also be able to use something called Screening Room, which will let you watch 13 games at once on a massive virtual screen. You'll never want to watch TV the regular way again.
Respawn is making a VR game for Oculus
Respawn Entertainment is filled with some of the best developers in the game industry, creating games like the original Call of Duty, the classic Modern Warfare and even Titanfall. It's one of the most respected developers in the industry, and now it's making an original VR game for Oculus Rift. We don't know too much about the project, but we do know it's coming in 2019 and we can't wait to see what's cooked up.
PlayStation VR turns one
Today marks the one year anniversary of PlayStation VR, and the company is celebrating by (once again) announcing that over a million gamers have bought and used the virtual reality platform. The company also wants you to know that it's fully committed, saying there are over 60 games coming by the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018.
Space Pirate Trainer officially out of beta
You could probably consider Space Pirate Trainer a classic in modern VR. It gets across the idea of virtual reality wonderfully, and it turns out to be many people's first major game experience. In fact, it's become the de-facto demo experience at Microsoft Stores, where a lot of people do have their first VR experience. Today, developer Dick Van Welden announced that the game is finally out of beta, with the full 1.0 version dropping.
Oculus intros Oculus Dash, a new user interface
Oculus doesn't just want you to use its VR headsets to play games and take tours of places you might never want to go. It's not as sexy, but it also wants to help you be productive. The companies introduced Oculus Dash, a new interface for working on your desktop PC. It's designed for the Touch controllers, and from the short video description you can swipe along a dock of apps and move around windows pretty seamlessly in a giant virtual desktop, which isn't curbed by how big your display is.
Play this: ARKTIKA.1
From the developers of the critically acclaimed Metro games comes ARKTIKA.1. You play a mercenary who accepts a contract to help defend a small colony in the frozen Russian tundra. While it looks like you'll be defending the colony from other people, there are plenty of terrifying creatures and horrifying looking moments near totally-not-creepy mannequins. You can pick this up now for $29.99 on the Oculus Store.
Watch this: Exploring cave paintings
This is TED-ed's first 360 video, and we can't wait to see what else it comes up with. This one takes a look at cave paintings by creating a little animated world where they walk you through the history of them and what they were for. There's some narration explaining what's going on as you explore the cave and all the paintings and characters around you. When it's done, we recommend a second viewing.
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