The Oculus Connect 4 keynote took place yesterday at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in California. There was plenty of news and new announcements for both hardware, software and content from the VR industry event. Here's a roundup of the most important news from the keynote:
Oculus Rift has a permanent price drop to $399
The virtual reality headset, which had quite a significant bundle price drop this past summer will receive a permanent price reduction. The new bundle, which includes the headset, sensors and Oculus touch controllers, will now retail at $399/£399.
Brand new standalone headset Oculus Go out early 2018 for $199
Oculus has announced a new headset designed for entry-level VR users. The Oculus Go does not require a smartphone or PC to be used. You can read more about the new headset on our news post here.
Untethered VR headset makes progress
Project Santa Cruz, the codename for a high-end untethered positionally tracked headset, is still under development but it is hoped that developers will have prototypes next
Oculus for Business is an all-in-one solution
A new solution businesses looking to use virtual reality for anything from training to sales is now available. The bundle will come with a commercial license, three sensors, a dual input cable and the Oculus Rift bundle for $900.
Social VR is growing
New products were announced for Oculus's continuing development of social VR with parent company Facebook. Venues is a new experience launching in 2018 that will allow users to watch concerts, movies and TV shows remotely, but with other app users. Facebook's Spaces will soon support Live 360 videos and the social network will soon allow 3D content to be posted into the Facebook newsfeed with native support.
More games are coming
A number of developers were announced to be working with Oculus in designing high-quality VR gaming experiences. Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment announced a partnership for a major title due in 2019, building on the developer's military gaming experience. Ready at Dawn will be bringing Echo Combat to the headsets in 2018, which is a second game from the Echo universe following Echo Arena.
Other media companies are also joining the VR entertainment space. Disney is one company who has worked with Oculus to produce new experiences. A VR experience of upcoming movie Coco, from Toy Story creators Pixar, will be released alongside its cinematic release. A Marvel experience called Marvel Powers United VR is also coming from Sanzaru Games. Netflix is also working with Oculus to produce a Stranger Things VR tie-in releasing this Halloween, and upcoming film Blade Runner 2049 is also getting a bespoke VR interactive experience this month, developed by Magnopus.
More for developers
There was also plenty of news for developers who are using the Oculus products. New avatars will be available in 2018 with cross-platform support and will add more support for lipsync movement and expressions later in the year.
A brand new APU is also coming which is hoped will boost discoverability of mobile VR content. There will also be a new debug feature that will help developers identify frame rate drops.
Multiview is the biggest news for developers. The new rendering technology will help to lower processing overheads, especially for mobile VR, by rendering a scene once only to allow for a more cost-effective CPU use. The technology has been developed in partnership with AMD, NVIDIA and engine providers Unity and Unreal.