“VR is the headphone for your eyes!” John Carmack, Oculus CTO.
Oculus Connect 5, the annual Facebook conference dedicated to Oculus, was as huge as expected. The conference brought lots of big news: the release of Oculus Quest (it will take place next spring), Oculus Dome prototype, new games for Oculus Go and new possibilities of communication in VR.
We see that Facebook is 100% into VR.
Facebook is experimenting with VR fully and openly. Facebook is trying to transform VR Spaces into something a bit more appealing, investing in concerts and sporting events live streaming, and “playing” with all the types of VR games, of course! And Oculus headsets become the core of Facebook’s passion to VR. What did tech media write about Oculus Connect 5? Here are the ideas of the Wired, TechCrunch, ZDNet, the Verge, and the UploadVR in one cocktail.
The Wired made the accent on “Togetherness and Connectedness” Oculus is promising in VR. Peter Rubin from the Wired wrote that Facebook emphasizes the depth of the connection VR can provide. Compared to the degree of connectedness social media can give, virtual reality will feel “deeper and truer.” It’s been several years since Facebook started selling meaningful communication as one of its products, and VR can be the final solution in achieving this goal. VR, according to Facebook, is the ultimate ability to be present with someone truly no matter where this person is. Real full emotional presence.
Other changes that will add to the deeper connectedness: the avatars become more expressive – they will be able to open their mouths for talking and express basic emotions. As for now, avatars feel and look lifeless that’s why people are not ready to go VR fully.
Shared VR experiences will be more diverse and sophisticated. Oculus promises that soon users will be able to invite their friends to watch some movies together. In virtual reality, of course. Oculus Go owners will have the opportunity to broadcast their life in VR as well.
Yet, of course, the major attention of Oculus is dedicated to its future standalone headset that will be released this spring. Oculus Quest is supposed to be “six degrees of freedom.” Basically, it’s an autonomous version of Oculus Rift in which a user can move freely and all the movements will be reflected in VR.
TechCrunch dedicated the whole review of Oculus Connect 5 to Oculus Quest. Fair enough, taking into account all the features it will have. Oculus Quest release is supposed to be a big event in the world of VR due to several key differences. First of all, the price. Oculus Quest will cost $399 which is more compared to Oculus Go, released by the company last year. And which is less compared to the price of the main competitor – HTC Vive Focus which costs $600.
Second, location tracking. Equipped with the wide-angle cameras, this HMD will track the location of the viewer without external sensors. The controllers won’t undergo some major transformation compared to the controllers of Oculus Go.
So far experts say that Oculus Quest can be a real mass-market HMD that will make VR popular.
ZDNet journalist Natali Gagliordi made it clear that Oculus Quest release is the biggest event on Oculus Connect. Though Natali believes that Facebook chose VR gaming as the main direction of their VR strategy, it was obvious that Oculus Quest is targeted at the enterprises that will benefit from the integration of real objects into virtual reality.
The future workspace can be very different due to VR, however, ZDNet claims that the enterprises are not ready for it yet.
The Verge journalist Adi Robertson, wrote that Oculus Connect 5 instead of giving answers raised a number of questions. Here are 5 questions Adi Robertson from the Verge asked the readership:
Where will we use Oculus Quest? Though VR headsets sales are not leveling up, VR is getting more and more popular in arcades. A new application for VR headsets was revealed recently: arcades, and arcade-esque experiences.
Does Oculus Quest have competitors? So far, taking into account all its features, Oculus has several competitive advantages: excellent room scaling, high-end controllers, and a wireless nature. Consumers must definitely like it. The real question is: will they like the design?
What about Oculus Rift? Most probably Oculus Rift will have to step aside because VR developers will find everything they are searching for in Oculus Quest.
When will VR games bring money? The answer to this question is simple: it’s still hard to sell games to the tiny community that is why Oculus is cooperating with the film industry, for example. Yet, a powerful mass-market headset like Oculus Quest can change it!
Will the next generation of VR look different? The futuristic forecast is very appealing: ultra-thin smart glasses that can either help a viewer to escape the world or augment it somehow.
UploadVR dedicated all the review to the speech of the main Oculus scientist, Michael Abrash, who summed up his predictions of the past. He said that VR/AR takeover is inevitable ( nobody doubted that). What we doubt is the idea that VR can be a better place for mixed reality (and the only place where this mixed reality is useful) because of the quality of the devices. As for the innovations, Michael also concluded that we still need to wait for reliable eye-tracking technology. Luckily, displays, foveated rendering, and virtual humans are evolving faster than was expected.
So what was this Oculus Connect 5 about? I can make one simple conclusion: it was about the communication and interaction. The company with 2 billion clients which basically created communication in the digital era says that we will all use VR for interaction. And I am pretty sure they know what they are talking about at Facebook. We are getting more and more disconnected due to social media, gadgets, the comfort of traveling.
What is VR can bring us closer at last?
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