Virtual reality galore: Everything Facebook rolled out at Oculus Connect
Why it matters to you
Rolling out a new pricing scheme alongside a new, more affordable, headset, Oculus is aiming to bring VR to everything in 2018.
Facebook kicked off Oculus Connect 4 on Wednesday, October 11 with a two-hour long keynote, offering a sample platter of what we can expect from Oculus for the coming year. New hardware, new software, and a ton of new features are coming to the Oculus ecosystem — along with some new pricing. Let’s dig into it.
First up is the new Oculus headset, the aptly named Oculus Go. The new headset isn’t going to be a competitor for the Gear VR or the Oculus Rift, but it will instead occupy a space between the two extremes. With a retail price of $200, the totally wireless Oculus Go aims to bring VR into more peoples’ lives by lowering the barriers to entry, and offering immersive, fully featured experiences without the need for a powerful gaming PC. The Oculus Go will be available for $200, starting in early 2018.
Project Santa Cruz
The next generation Rift headset isn’t going to hit store shelves anytime soon but it will boast some impressive new features. In addition to inside-out tracking, the new headset will receive a pair of totally redesigned Touch controllers which will feature a refined version of the current Touch controllers’ constellation tracking system. Without any external lighthouses, the new headset will use four cameras located on each corner of the headset to not only track your movement, but also the movement of the controllers.
New Oculus Rift pricing
For anyone interested in taking the plunge into VR for the first time, the best news out of Oculus Connect is the new pricing model for the Oculus Rift and Touch Controllers. You will be able to snag both for just $400. That pricing model was previously applied as a temporary promotion, but it is the new standard pricing for the Oculus Rift and Touch Controller bundle going forward.
Among the updates coming to the Oculus platform in 2018 is a completely revamped user interface. Dubbed “RiftCore 2.0” the new software radically changes the way users interact with their applications. Now, instead of using an external application to emulate a desktop environment, we will be able to access our applications right from the new Oculus Dashboard. You can open windows, re-arrange them, and even jump into the Dashboard right from your VR games.
For instance, you can open the Dashboard without leaving your game, just like you can on the Xbox One or PlayStation 4. From the Dashboard you can launch other applications, even web browsers, and pin them into your game experience, so you can watch videos or browse the web while you cruise through space in Elite Dangerous.
New Oculus Home
Oculus Home is also getting a revamp, now you will be able to decorate your space with furniture, artwork and even achievements you earned in different games. Additionally, you will be able to launch games and apps directly from your home, and even visit your friends’ Homes to leave them notes or just see how they decorated their spaces. Oculus also promises shared spaces will be coming to Oculus Home in 2018.
The beta, however, will be available for free to Oculus owners in December 2017.
During the keynote, we also saw a few brief glimpses at some games coming to the Oculus Rift in the coming year. First among which was an unnamed collaboration between Respawn Games — the developer of Titanfall — and Oculus. Second, the popular Face Your Fears experience will be getting Stranger Things-themed at an as-yet-undisclosed time.