Oculus hosted the first day of Oculus Connect 6 on Wednesday, and VR fans from around the world tuned in to hear the latest news regarding all things Oculus. The biggest news of the day is Oculus Link, which allows you to connect your Quest with a PC via a USB-C cable to access Rift content, but Oculus made several splashes, including announcing Horizon — a social hub for VR — hand and finger tracking for Quest, and games like Vader Immortal Episode II and Medal of Honor Above and Beyond. Below, we recap all the highlights from day one.
Oculus Connect 6 will continue tomorrow, Sept. 26, and you can watch it live here.
Oculus Link has two major components; a software update to the Oculus Quest and a new 5-foot-long USB-C cable. The upside is your Oculus Quest will be able to plug into your gaming PC and play all the games an Oculus Rift S can. This is huge for anyone with a Quest, and a little bit sad for anyone who chose the Rift S because of some of those exclusives.
The Rift S still has some advantages, of course, but having this new versatility with the Quest can't be dismissed. Our man on the ground, Russell Holly, has a hands-on article to give you an idea of what to expect and how it all works.
Facebook Horizons looks like it's going to be a huge social hub for the Oculus platform. It will allow you to create avatars, meet each other in virtual worlds that you can create, and to play games together. Like Facebook, you will be able to message the people you meet there and create groups for activities all from within the program.
Of course, this huge social experiment is only available on Oculus products, so not exactly a huge amount of people will be using it.
One of the coolest demos to come out of the Connect this year is hand tracking for the Oculus platform. Having a full range of motion for your hands in VR opens up a huge amount of new experiences. From typing in VR to casting magical spells, or even using it for sign language, the possible uses for hand tracking are enormous.
So far, the demo looks very promising and Russell went hands-on with it at Connect 6.
Oculus Go apps on Quest
Oculus Quest owners who previously owned an Oculus Go will be able to transfer their purchased games from the Go to the Quest. This means if you have a favorite Go app but you love using the Quest you can have the best of both worlds.
Another bonus for Go users; if you already own a Go app and it exists in the Oculus Quest store you can claim that new version for free, at least until the end of the year and starting on Sept. 26.
Vader Immortal Episode II
The first episode of Vader Immortal proved to be hugely popular and people have been clamoring for another, so ILMxLAB has obliged in a big way. In this episode, Lord Vader teaches you more about the Force and how to wield it, and you get to explore deeper into his castle in Mustafar.
There is a lot of cool action in this trailer, showing off your Force powers and some of the interesting people you will meet along the way. Oh, and there is new lightsaber and it looks so, so good. Check it out in the video.
Beat Saber: Panic! At The Disco music pack
Beat Saber is arguably the biggest game in VR right now, and along with the announcement of its 360 game mode, the developers announced the latest game pack from Panic! At The Disco. Beat Saber music packs are normally good and this one looks like it could be a lot of fun too.
It's available next week too, so you won't have long to wait.
Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond
Respawn gave us a good look at its Oculus exclusive, Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond at the keynote today. Featuring heavy WW2 action and a lot of excellent VR mechanics — the guy pulled a pin out of a grenade with his teeth! — Medal of Honor will be available next year for the Rift family of devices.
We'll have a lot more to say about this game so soon, so keep an eye out.
Reality Labs live maps
Do you remember in The Dark Knight where Christian Bale uses a terrible machine that maps the world using cell phones? Well, Facebook thinks that's an awesome idea. It probably won't be as bad as it was in Batman, but Facebook is planning to crowdsource masses of user data to help build a 3D map of the world — including inside areas like offices —that you can then interact with in a VR space. It's an ambitious project, but one that Facebook is uniquely situated to achieve.
The video of a man interacting with his father in a VR version of his front room was really lovely though and it's all I want from social VR.
Facebook is making AR glasses
Building on this idea of a huge virtual map overlaid on the real world, Oculus made a definitive statement: "We are building AR glasses." The idea isn't new and even Oculus and Facebook's vision of it is something we've seen before, but it is exciting nonetheless. Look at the above picture; isn't this what you want from Augmented Reality? Even if the guy sitting there is essentially an avatar, it would still make these glasses worth almost any price.
I live 6,500 miles from my parents and being able to see them as I talk to them in an augmented world would be priceless.
And the rest
There were other small announcements today — after all, it was a two-hour keynote speech — but they are either expanded upon elsewhere or too small to worry about.
Other game releases
There were several other games announced at the event and another article will be incoming with more details on each of them. The visitors to Oculus Connect are lucky though since two of the games, Stormland, and Asgard's Wrath, have been given to them for free just for attending.
Oculus TV and Media Creator
Oculus TV is being remade as a central hub for all things movies and TV. You'll be able to access all the other media apps you have on your Oculus device directly from Oculus TV, and you can add your own content. Media Creator is a new space for you to upload and edit your media content to make it accessible to you and others throughout the Oculus platform.
Full-Body Codec Avatars
Oculus is working to make the real world and the AR/VR worlds merge in a more meaningful way than ever before. Full-body avatars look surprisingly lifelike and should help make the AR glasses and Live Map projects even cooler.
That's all folks
That's pretty much everything announced for us as end-users at this year's Oculus Connect. There was other things mentioned, but we won't be able to get our hands on them until later this year.
What was the most exciting thing for you? I really like the Oculus Link and the AR glasses, especially the AR glasses. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Daily Coronavirus updates: Google donates Chromebooks to students
COVID-19 has already infected over 877,000 people globally and caused over 43,540 fatalities. It has also had a huge impact on the tech industry, affecting the global supply chain and causing interminable product delays. Here are all the ways the coronavirus is affecting the world.
The T-Mobile and Sprint merger is done and nothing good will come of it
T-Mobile is riding the hype train and Sprint customers are tied to the tracks.
T-Mobile offering a free year of Quibi streaming service on April 6
Need something else to keep your mind busy during these trying times? Starting April 6, you'll be able to get a free Quibi subscription if you're a T-Mobile customer.
Kids stuck at home? These Oculus Quest games will get them up and moving
If school is canceled or your kids are stuck at home for any other reason, they're likely bouncing off the walls. These Oculus Quest games will get them off the sofa and let them dance, jump, and move around to blow off some steam.