The Manifold Camera from RED. (Facebook Photo)
A new virtual reality headset, the $399 Oculus Quest, headlined the fifth edition of the Oculus Connect event in San Jose, Calif., but Facebook had a slew of other VR products to show off as well.
Virtual and augmented reality has become a major priority for Facebook, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg repeatedly proclaiming a goal of getting 1 billion people into VR. And Oculus’ Chief Scientist Michael Abrash predicts that virtual and augmented reality devices will someday replace phones and PCs as the primary technology used by the masses.
Facebook’s announcements today range from new devices, to apps and games, to updates to existing products and platforms.
Here are the biggest unveilings from the event:
- Oculus Quest: Combining the power of Oculus Rift and the standalone nature of Oculus Go, this “all-in-one” headset is the total package, according to Zuckerberg. The realization of the long-anticipated “Project Santa Cruz,” Oculus Quest also represents the completion of Facebook’s first generation of VR products.
- YouTube VR on Oculus Go: The app brings more than 800,000 immersive videos — from concerts to nature scenes — to Oculus Go. As The Verge notes, this announcement means every Oculus device now has some form of YouTube app.
- Manifold 360 degree camera from RED: Following up on a promise from its F8 event earlier this year, Facebook unveiled its new 3D/360 degree camerabuilt in partnership with camera maker RED. Facebook didn’t say how much the device would cost or when it would be available.
- Oculus Insight: Featured in the Oculus Quest, this tech tracks a user’s position without sensors. It supports the ability to build the experience beyond room scale and also lets users know when they are about to run into a wall.
- Casting: As the highly lucrative world of e-sports has shown, people like to watch others play games as much, or even more, than they like to play themselves. Oculus Go will soon support the ability to cast content one user is viewing onto a phone or TV.
- New Star Wars VR series: Launching with the Oculus Quest next spring, Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series is a three-part series that takes place between Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Rogue One. It is written by David S. Goyer, who worked on movies like The Dark Knight and the Blade series.
- Oculus Venues with NBA games and more: Announced earlier this year, Oculus Venues transports users to virtual arenas and other, for lack of a better word, venues, to watch events with other users. Facebook today released the fall lineup for Oculus Venues, which includes several NBA games for the first time.
- Oculus Rift updates: Facebook did not unveil the next generation Oculus Rift headset, but it did say that the Rift’s Core 2.0 software is rolling out to customers starting today. The updated software includes more personalization features, expressive avatars and the ability for developers to create their own line of items that users can collect for their personal VR living rooms.