The seventh annual Facebook Connect — formerly Oculus Connect — covers virtual and augmented reality news from the social media giant. Held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic, the company announced the Oculus Quest 2, a $299 successor to its standalone Quest VR headset, as well as a slate of new games and the retirement of its Oculus Rift S tethered headset.
Facebook packed its Connect virtual and augmented reality conference into a single day this year, and it announced a lot of news during its two-hour keynote. That included a new VR headset, the retirement of an old headset, and a long list of upcoming games and apps.Read Article >
As usual, Connect centered on Facebook’s VR division Oculus. But we also learned about Facebook’s plans for Ray-Ban “smart glasses,” as well as a more advanced AR initiative called Aria. Here are some of the details.
Facebook just announced the Oculus Quest 2, a successor to its Quest virtual reality headset from 2019. At $299 for the base model, the new beefed-up and slimmed-down Quest is $100 cheaper than its predecessor. It’s also shipping within a few weeks: preorders opened today, and it will be available for purchase in 22 countries on October 13th. Facebook will retire its Oculus Rift S next year and the original Quest supply is already sold out in many places, so the Quest 2 will soon be the only option for Oculus headset buyers.Read Article >
The Quest 2 has the same basic features as the Quest. It’s a self-contained VR headset that doesn’t require a gaming PC or any external tracking sensors. It uses four built-in cameras to let people move around in VR, and it ships with two Oculus Touch motion controllers as well as limited controller-free hand tracking. The Quest 2 and original Quest share a game library, and both can be tethered to a gaming PC with a USB-C cable, letting users play more graphically intensive games that were once limited to the Rift.
Ubisoft has announced new Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell games built entirely for virtual reality. The games, announced during the Facebook Connect (previously called Oculus Connect) virtual keynote on Wednesday, mark a long-rumored but still potentially exciting addition to VR.Read Article >
We don’t know anything else about the games, except that they’ll be developed by Ubisoft’s Red Storm in collaboration with Ubisoft Reflections, Ubisoft Düsseldorf, and Ubisoft Mumbai. Ubisoft has developed several VR games in the past years, including Eagle Flight, Transference, and the excellent cooperative title Star Trek: Bridge Crew. Ubisoft has also produced an Assassin’s Creed VR escape room.
Myst creator Cyan Worlds is adapting its classic adventure game to virtual reality. Facebook and Cyan announced that Myst will get a VR remake for the Oculus Quest later this year, launching after the release of the upcoming Oculus Quest 2 headset.Read Article >
The VR version of Myst is described as a “reimagining” of the 1993 original, which was created using Apple’s HyperCard software. It includes new art, audio, and interactions, plus a randomized puzzle option for an added challenge. A trailer offers a broad reminder of what Myst is about, but it doesn’t show us what the game will actually look like or how it will play.
Sep 16, 2020
Facebook is giving augmented reality effects creators more places to share their work. The company announced, as part of its Facebook Connect event today, that it’ll expand third-party creators’ reach to both Messenger and Portal, meaning effects they create through Spark AR, Facebook’s AR program, can show up in that app and device, too. (AR effects already existed in both Messenger and Portal, but those effects will soon come from creators outside of Facebook’s in-house team.) The team says it’ll have updates about when the third-party effects will roll out early next year.Read Article >
Facebook also combined the news with updated numbers about Spark AR usage. The company now says it counts more than 400,000 Spark AR creators from 190 countries, who have published more than a million AR effects on both Facebook and Instagram. In the past three months, more than 150 accounts have each seen their effects generate over a billion views on Instagram. This is substantial given that Facebook only took Spark AR out of beta last August.
Facebook-owned virtual reality company Oculus is ending sales of the Rift S headset next spring. It’s retiring the PC-based VR device to focus on the standalone Oculus Quest 2, which can also be tethered to a computer through Oculus’ Link feature.Read Article >
Quest 2 product manager Prabhu Parthasarathy calls the Quest 2’s release “the right moment for us to move to a single headset.” Link, which uses a USB-C cable to support PC VR games on the Quest, was launched experimentally for the original Quest in 2019. The feature will emerge from beta later this year, officially making the $299 Quest 2 a dual-purpose headset.
Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset is being released alongside several optional accessories, including two head strap variants, Logitech earbuds and headphones, a “fit pack” for different head sizes, and the Link USB-C cable. As Facebook announced today, the Quest 2’s base model costs $299, but getting the absolute best experience on it will cost quite a bit more.Read Article >
The Quest 2 ships with a cloth strap by default. Oculus, however, is also selling a padded plastic “Elite Strap” that offers more support and a little bit of a counterweight for the headset’s front-heavy bulk. The default Elite Strap costs $49, and a version with a carrying case and battery — which Oculus says doubles the Quest 2’s two to three hour playtime — costs $129. Having used the Elite Strap, we wouldn’t quite call it nonnegotiable, but it’s a marked improvement even considering the Quest 2’s overall reduced weight.
As someone who writes about virtual reality and has been stuck at home just like many people during the 2020 pandemic, I’ve gotten asked one question over and over: if virtual reality is so great and actual reality is so dangerous, why isn’t everybody turning to VR? This isn’t a totally fair framing, since VR usage has spiked by some measures. But it did expose a simple problem: I really couldn’t recommend a headset that was friendly enough for most people to buy.Read Article >
I’ve spent the last couple of weeks with Oculus’ new Quest 2 headset, though, and that’s very close to changing. The Quest 2 is a self-contained headset that’s shipping on October 13th, and it’s an update to Oculus’ 2019 Quest. Oculus has kept that standalone Quest design with the same feature set, while improving its screen, reducing its weight, and — with one noteworthy caveat — making it more comfortable. It’s also dropped the starting price from $399 to $299, making the Quest 2 one of the lowest-priced headsets on the market.
A second-generation Oculus Quest virtual reality headset, the Quest 2, is shipping next month starting at $299. Facebook opened preorders for the Quest 2 today, and it’s launching the headset on October 13th in 22 countries. The Quest 2 will replace both the original Quest and the PC-tethered Rift S, thanks to the Link feature that lets it play PC VR games.Read Article >
Quest 2 specs and images have circulated widely in the past few months, and today’s announcement confirms most of the leaked details. Primarily, the Quest 2 is a slimmer and lighter version of the Quest. The headset weighs in at 503 grams instead of 571 grams and is slightly shallower than its predecessor. It features a soft cloth head strap instead of a stiff rubber one, and it’s primarily white instead of black, but it’s still a self-contained inside-out headset with four tracking cameras mounted on the front, plus two black-and-white Oculus Touch motion controllers.
Sep 16, 2020
Facebook says its first pair of consumer “smart glasses” will be releasing next year as a branded Ray-Ban product, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced during the opening keynote of its all-virtual Facebook Connect conference. It’s not clear what features the device will have, but Facebook has confirmed to The Verge that the device will not be classified as an AR device, and it will not have an integrated display of any kind. That suggests they may be closer to something like Snap Spectacles or perhaps Amazon’s Echo Frames.Read Article >
Facebook says the consumer smart glasses will be one step in its overall work on AR, which now includes experimental research prototype it’s calling Project Aria, which is more like a full-fledged pair of AR glasses it sounds like. Starting this month, Facebook says the company will start testing Aria in the real world with Facebook employees and contractors to hammer out tough issues around areas like privacy, video recording, and design.
The seventh annual Facebook Connect virtual and augmented reality conference, formerly known as Oculus Connect, is being streamed online today. Facebook is expected to announce a new Oculus Quest VR headset, which has been widely leaked over the past few months. But we could also see a slate of new virtual reality games, extra Spark AR features, updates on Facebook’s Horizon virtual world, and hints at the company’s long-term AR headset plans.Read Article >
And like many events during the pandemic, Connect 7 is being held fully online.