Oculus is moving forward with its VR platform, showing off new hardware, software, developer tools, and more at Oculus Connect 4. In case you missed the keynote, we’ve put together a list of all the big announcements that are making waves in the VR world.
The first big announcement we saw this morning is a new standalone VR system called Oculus Go . Go targets the sweet spot between mobile VR and PC VR, both in terms of technology and price, which is set at $199.
Designed to be as light as possible, Oculus Go also features a new mesh foam interface that enhances the comfort level of today’s hardware. To keep the weight down, there are no visible earbuds like there are on the Oculus Rift. Instead, spatial audio is built into the headset. If you prefer to use standard headphones, there is a 3.5mm jack.
This headset will obviously provide the best visual experience in VR thanks to its second generation lenses and a WQHD fast switching LCD that offers a higher fill factor than OLED. This means less screen door effect and less glare.
The controller appeared next to the headset, and it will indeed work just like the current Gear VR controller. Developers making apps for Gear VR will also be making apps for Oculus Go (and vice versa), and many of the best Gear VR apps will be available for Oculus Go from day one. The Oculus Go controller will use three degrees of freedom (DoF), which the headset will also use. To put this into perspective, the Oculus Rift uses six degrees of freedom.
An exact launch date has yet to be set and we currently expect early 2018. As for the developer kits, they will start shipping in November 2017.
Project Santa Cruz
Project Santa Cruz, which is Oculus’ solution for the wireless Rift, has made some interesting progress since last year. We were shown a new controller with six degrees of freedom, which are tracked by four sensors on the front of the Santa Cruz headset.
Most of the features that made the Oculus Touch a success have been carried over, but there are some changes. The rings that hold the infrared LEDs that make tracking possible are now inverted so they point up instead of down. The joystick has also been removed, and a flat touchpad is now installed, much like the one found on the Vive sticks.
Developer kits including these new controllers will begin shipping next year.
Oculus Rift gets new fixed price
The previous price for the Oculus Rift and Touch bundle was a hefty $499, but that’s about to drop another $100.
This means you can get a head-up display, touch controllers, and two sensors for a total of $399. That’s not bad at all considering the HTC Vive is still $599.
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Rift Core 2.0
Oculus is planning a major software overhaul with Rift Core 2.0, which will be available to all Rift users in December 2017. Rift Core 2.0 brings two major changes, the first of which is called the Oculus Dash.
This new user interface has been designed from the ground up for the Oculus Touch, with a wide scroll bar at the bottom containing all your apps, and windows at the top for seamless integration. Dash works like a 3D overlay with what you use in Rift. The example given in the scene is that you can pin a YouTube music video to the corner of the screen while playing Elite: Dangerous with friends.
You can quickly switch between apps from the Dash menu and even bring desktop apps into VR with hardware integration from NVIDIA and AMD. This means you can have as many monitors as you want, and Oculus says they’d like to replace physical monitors entirely one day.
The other major announcement regarding Rift Core 2.0 is the redesigned Oculus Home. Now you can completely customize your space with furniture, toys, and even art. Your touch controllers can be used to move things around, and you can even run VR games by putting old school cartridges in the console.
The house lighting and shadows have also been improved, giving the world a more natural feel. If you happen to create a particularly beautiful space, you can share it with your friends. You will be able to visit each other’s places, and if your friend is not around, you can leave a note for the next login.