Today at Facebook’s sixth annual Oculus Connect conference, Facebook shared their vision for VR and their plans to build the future of computing with people at the center. People are hard-wired for connection, which is why Facebook’s vision is a platform organized around people, not apps. Virtual and augmented reality are defined by their ability to deliver social presence — the feeling that you’re right there with someone else, together in another place. VR helps give people the freedom to be wherever they want and still have the power to connect to the people, places, and opportunities that matter most. During today’s keynote, Facebook revealed key innovations that will change the way we interact in VR and ultimately AR, including the latest updates to Facebook’s first all-in-one 6DOF headset, Oculus Quest.
During the Day 1 keynote, where we revealed key innovations that will change the way we interact in VR and AR; the latest updates to Facebook’s first all-in-one gaming headset, Oculus Quest; enhanced developer tools to optimize workflows and app performance; end-to-end solutions for VR enterprise; and a brand-new social VR world called Facebook Horizon.
Here’s a recap of today’s announcements:
Hand Tracking on Oculus Quest
When Oculus Touch controllers launched in late 2016, it ushered in a new era of consumer VR by introducing hand presence: the sensation that your own hands were actually there with you in a virtual environment. Today, we’re marking another important VR input milestone in the evolution of VR input with the announcement of hand tracking on Oculus Quest—enabling natural interaction in VR using your own hands on an all-in-one standalone device—no extra hardware required. All without the need for a controller, external sensors, gloves, or a PC to power it.
At OC6, we’re demoing hand tracking on Quest, which will launch in early 2020 as an experimental feature for consumers and as an SDK for developers. In the future, this technology could help solve the challenges of input for AR glasses, letting you seamlessly interact with ambient AR experiences.
We’re already working on the next Oculus Quest, and we want to ensure that everything developers build for today’s headset is fully forward compatible. Beyond shipping new hardware in the future, we’ll continue releasing more software updates for Quest just as developers release new content so that its value increases over time as a dynamic VR product.
Oculus Link is a new way for people who own Quest and a gaming PC to access content from the Rift Platform. We’ll release the software in beta this November, as an update to the Oculus desktop app, and it will work with most high-quality USB 3 cables. Later this year, we’ll also release a premium optical fiber cable to provide a best-in-class experience with maximum throughput to run Rift content and enough length so you can move easily in VR.
Passthrough+ on Quest
Previously available on Rift S, Passthrough+ leverages the headset’s front facing cameras for a stereo-correct passthrough mode that reduces depth disparity and increases comfort. Passthrough+ launches next week, while Passthrough “on demand” will let people switch between a view of the virtual and real world at will, starting later this year.
Oculus Go Apps on Quest
We’re bringing a variety of popular Oculus Go apps to Quest. Between now and the end of the year, we’ll also offer free upgrades for owners of paid Oculus Go apps, so you can get the Quest version if it already exists. Starting next week, you can access more than 50 Oculus Go titles on Quest.
A culmination of everything we’ve learned so far about virtual spaces and communities, Facebook Horizon is the first step into an ever-expanding world of connection and exploration where anything becomes possible. Explore new places, play games, build communities, and even create your own entirely new experience with easy-to-use tools like World Builder that require no coding skills. Click here to learn more or sign up for the beta scheduled to begin early next year at oculus.com/facebookhorizon.
Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, Coming Soon to the Rift Platform
Two years ago at OC4, we announced a landmark partnership between Oculus Studios and Respawn Entertainment, the creators of hit games like Titanfall™, Apex Legends™, and the upcoming Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order™. Since then, the team at Respawn has been working tirelessly to maximize the creative potential of VR and build something incredible—a game that takes us into the future of VR gaming and plays to the strengths of where some of Respawn’s acclaimed developers first started in game development. Today, we’re thrilled to reveal Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond. In addition to both a full narrative campaign and multiplayer modes, Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond includes a unique story gallery, letting you sit with WWII veterans and survivors to hear their stories while witnessing first-hand the events and locations that have shaped our history. Click here to learn more.
Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series – Episode II Now Available
ILMxLAB took the stage at OC5 to announce Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series – Episode I, an Emmy-nominated adventure that dropped players into the Star Wars universe. And today at OC6, they joined us again to announce that Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series – Episode II is launching today on Oculus Quest and Rift Platform. In Episode II, players return to Mustafar to learn the ways of the Force—including new powers and lightsaber skills—from the legendary Sith Lord himself. Click here to learn more.
Asgard’s Wrath and Stormland Coming Soon, Pre-Orders Open Now
We announced that Norse-inspired epic role-playing game Asgard’s Wrath will launch on the Rift Platform October 10, while sci-fi title Stormland brings co-op gameplay mechanics and a high degree of replayability to the Rift Platform November 14. Pre-orders for both titles are now open on the Oculus Store.
Beat Saber Panic! At The Disco Music Pack
The developers behind indie darling Beat Saber took the stage to unveil the Panic! At The Disco Music Pack. It adds even more variety to this Platinum title, and it’s coming to Quest and the Rift Platform September 30.
Grow Your VR Community with the New Oculus Social Platform, Built on Facebook
Later this year, we’ll begin to roll out a completely new social layer across the Oculus Platform, powered by Facebook. As part of that change, we’ll ask people to log in to Facebook from the Oculus Platform to use first-party social experiences like joining parties, adding friends, and co-watching in Oculus TV, because these experiences are powered by Facebook’s technology.
This is going to open up new ways to connect in VR. We’re adding Chats, so you can message your Oculus friends both in and outside of VR. We’re also adding Events, so you can organize multiplayer tournaments or co-watching movies and shows with your friends. And we’re adding the ability to post to Facebook Groups from VR, so you can share your favorite moments with your VR communities.
In order to provide these features, we’ll use information like your friend list, how often you jump into VR, and which apps you use to provide better VR-related recommendations on Facebook, including relevant Facebook Groups you may want to join, Oculus Events you might like to attend, or ads.
Over time, we plan to power more and more of our social infrastructure with Facebook to realize the vision of a socially-connected VR ecosystem. For the people who choose to log in with Facebook, we’ll continue to add new ways to find friends, connect with people, and explore communities, so it’s as easy to feel present with others in VR as it is in the physical world.
Rich Presence + Destinations
Destinations let developers define places in their games and apps that can be surfaced across the Oculus Platform. Once those Destinations have been defined, Rich Presence lets people share when they’re in those places, so their friends can easily join them. Starting next month, people will be able to see their friends’ Rich Presence locations in VR and in the Oculus mobile app. And there’s a privacy setting for people to control what they share.
Over the coming months, we’ll add the ability for developers to broadcast Destinations and for people to share their Rich Presence locations across even more surfaces, including Messenger and Facebook. These links will let people remote launch a specific VR destination in your app from their laptop or phone—like a portal that takes friends directly to each other.
Oculus TV + Oculus Media Studio
Today we announced the new and improved Oculus TV—a central hub where you can discover and watch media on both Quest and Oculus Go. Oculus TV gives creators a unique platform to help people find and enjoy the experiences they’ve made. And to make it even easier, we’re also introducing Media Studio—a new kind of media management tool that lets you upload and publish your immersive content directly to VR.