All the big announcements from Oculus Connect 3

Oculus revealed a final iteration of its Rift Touch controllers, a social meeting ground with personal avatars, new minimum system specs for the Rift, a bunch of new games designed for the Touch Controllers, and more!

Oculus Touch

A final iteration of the Oculus Touch controllers was revealed, and with it a huge question was answered — Oculus Touch will support room-scale VR gaming.

Oculus Touch

Touch controllers will come with an included extra sensor for 360-degree tracking, and a third sensor will be available for $79 for those who want to get in on room-scale experiences.

The Touch controllers will be available for pre-order October 10 for $199, and will begin shipping on December 6th. Pre-orders will include two games: VR Sports Challenge and The Unspoken.

Oculus Avatars, Parties, and Rooms

Avatars playing cards

Mark Zuckerberg and a couple of friends showed off the new social spaces coming to Oculus, in which each person has a personal avatar. Using the Touch controllers, you can go through a character creation system that resembles a wardrobe in order to get an accurate virtual representation of yourself.

Avatars emoting

The avatars could smile, laugh, express emotions with facial movements, and could use their hands — complete with thumb and forefinger movement — to gesture.

Voice-call with up to eight friends in Oculus Parties, then take your avatars to a meeting ground known as Oculus Rooms. You'll be able to watch videos, listen to music, and play mini games.

Avatars will be available for Rift at Touch launch and for Gear VR in early 2017; Parties and Rooms will ship for Gear VR in the next few weeks.

Content lineup for Oculus Touch

Next phase

With the Oculus Touch announcement came a bunch of new content designed around the new controllers. Arktika.1 is a first-person shooter that has you battling futuristic baddies, Lone Echo has you as a robot that aids astronauts in a zero-gravity environment, and Robo Recall, coming for free at the start of 2017, looks like a comical, hectic shooter where you try to bring in rogue robots.

Oculus also announced new art tools designed for Touch, including Medium, a sculpting tool available at Touch launch, Kingspray, a graffiti simulator, and Quill, which lets you draw in space and time to create beautiful VR stories. In total, there will be 35 games ready for the Touch launch.

New minimum PC specs

New minimum PC specs

Oculus unveiled something called Asynchronous Spacewarp that is built into the Oculus Runtime and promises to reduce the burden placed on PCs, effectively opening up a whole new Rift audience.

Asynchronous Spacewarp can basically create a synthetic frame between two other frames — apps can drop down to 45FPS, but will appear to run at 90FPS thanks to the synthetic frames. You won't see any jitter, even when it comes to head- and hand-tracking.

This advance has created an entirely new set of minimum PC specs for the Rift:

  • NVIDIA GTX 960 or greater
  • Intel i3-6100 / AMD FX4350
  • 8GB RAM
  • 1x USB 3.0 / 2x USB 2.0
  • Windows 8 or newer

Oculus showed off a new AMD-powered PC from Cyberpower that costs only $499. This is a big step in opening up the market for VR.

Investing in VR

Oculus also announced something called NextGen, in which they are teaming up with educational institutions to launch their own VR creation programs. Couple this with a UN partnership to create documentaries based on humanitarian issues, as well as $10 million of funding for diversity programs like VR for Good, Amplified New Voices, and Launchpad, and you have a whole bunch of exciting content coming soon for VR.

A VR headset with inside-out tracking

New VR headset in the works

Mark Zuckerberg announced that Oculus is working on an unnamed headset that sits somewhere in between Gear VR and Rift. What this means is inside-out tracking rather than external sensor tracking on a headset that no longer has any wires coming out of it.

This headset is in very early stages, and we were given only a glimpse of what it looked like — basically a Rift with a box on the back of it. With a lack of external sensor and wiring, this could kickstart a future of VR without boundaries.

React VR

React VR is a new web framework built on the foundations of React, a Javascript library used for creating user interfaces. VR experiences based primarily on the web will be easily created and accessible by both standard web browsers and VR headsets. Oculus expects everyone to have a VR-space on the web in the near future.

There is also an upcoming Oculus web browser called "Carmel" that is fully optimized for VR and will work on any Oculus device.

What do you think?

What are your impressions of tonight's event? Are you excited for the future of Oculus? Make sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments below!