Facebook held its fourth annual Oculus Connect event in San Jose, showcasing a new mobile headset, teasing its next evolution of Oculus Rift and unveiling new updates to Oculus Home and more.
Oculus Go is a standalone headset with a $199/£150 price tag
The biggest news to come out of Oculus Connect 4 is the unveiling of a brand new, standalone VR headset - the Oculus Go. Designed to rival mobile-powered devices such as Gear VR, Oculus Go will feature a 'fast switch' WQHD 2560 x 1440 LCD screen as well as support for spatial audio.
You won't be able to wander about in the way that Oculus Rift supports, but you will be able to spin much in the same way you can with Gear VR. The headset, which is due to arrive in early 2018, will be cross-compatible with titles designed for Samsung's VR platform and will ship to developers next month.
The next Oculus Rift, Project Santa Cruz, will be a fully wireless VR headset
In keeping with the announcement of the mobile-centric Oculus Go, Facebook has also revealed the previously reveled in-development Oculus Rift follow-up will be a fully wireless VR experience.
Still code-named Project Santa Cruz, the second generation Rift will feature on-board inside-out tracking, meaning the external sensors required by the original Rift will be built directly into the headset itself. Coupled with a tether-free setup, the new Rift will make high-end VR experiences a lot less clunky and user friendly. No word yet on price as its still early days, but expect something close to the hefty $599/£599 of the original Rift.
Oculus Rift price permanently slashed to $399 in time for Xmas
With a mobile version on the way in early 2018 and a fully-fledged update already in development, Facebook has announced the current Oculus Rift model is having its priced slashed down to $399 - just in time for the upcoming holiday season.
It certainly makes the sheer cost of investing in high-end VR a lot more palatable to the wallet, but Facebook has yet to confirm whether this price slash will make to either the UK or Australian markets. We imagine it probably will, but it's not clear if the price cut will be as substantial or available as soon as the US one. This price cut is now in immediate effect.
Oculus Dash aims to use VR to make your monitor obsolete
By the end of 2017, Oculus Rift will have a brand new dashboard to help you navigate and customise your VR experience. Known as Oculus Dash, the setup has been designed to be a VR monitor, enabling you to check Facebook, watch fail videos on YouTube and even code, all from the infinite screen space of VR.
Apps will launch and run in full fidelity, essentially providing you with a fully cusotmisable work and leisure space. Devs will also be taking well to Oculus Dash since it will enable them to debug apps while they're still running in Unity, Unreal and more. It will role out as part of Oculus Core 2.0 - at least in Beta form - this December.
Oculus Home gets a big revamp, ups the customisation to the max
With Oculus Dash on the way and manner of other updates being rolled out in the coming months, Facebook has gone the whole hog and given its Oculus Home suite a respectable overhaul as well.
The new version will enable you to customise almost every part of your interactive startup screen, including furnishings, art, backgrounds and more (a sci-fi themed version was shown off at the show, complete with a space-set background and more). You'll also be able to show off in-game achievements and play hidden retro games, too. Oh, and Facebook is planning on letting your friends hang out in your Home as well.
Venues and 3D posts to shake up social on Oculus Rift
Facebook has also confirmed that the social side of Oculus Rift is getting an overhaul. According to the firm, Venues is a brand new experience launching next year that lets you, "watch concerts and catch premieres of new movies and TV shows with thousands of people." All the fun of the cinema, without the stale smells and tall people sitting in front of you.
Facebook is also bringing 360 video to Facebook Spaces, enabling you to experience and interact within a live 360-degree video feed. Spaces will also be supporting 3D, which will enable users to create animated shorts and other unique content.
- Why not check out... Here’s how to play full-on PC games with your smartphone VR headset