Facebook Horizon VR world, AR projects, and more announcements from Oculus Connect 6

Several important updates are coming to the Oculus Quest VR platform such as hand tracking.

Facebook hosted the sixth Oculus Connect conference where the VR company gave a comprehensive rundown of everything it has been working on that includes hardware devices and software as well. Among those announcements, few of them including the new updates coming to the standalone Oculus Quest VR headset, a new social VR world called Facebook Horizon, and an exclusive Medal of Honor VR game, are some of the interesting ones.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the Oculus Connect 6 conference. Image: Oculus/YouTube.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the Oculus Connect 6 conference. Image: Oculus/YouTube.

Oculus Quest updates

The Oculus Quest is an all-in-one VR headset without the hassle of multiple cables that don’t require a powerful PC or laptop to power it. It has built-in cameras and using those, a new update coming early next year will allow the headset to track your hands. Hand tracking will be accomplished on the Quest without any extra hardware that means users won’t have to hold controllers and simply use their hands to interact with the virtual elements. Oculus believes that the same technology can be leveraged in augmented reality so that a more seamless AR experience can be implemented with minimum hardware.

While the Quest doesn’t require a PC to be powered and works on its own, Oculus Link will enable a connection with your gaming PC so that you can get access to VR content on the Rift Platform. A software update comes out in beta in November in the Oculus desktop app. The company said that it will release a premium optical fibre cable for maximum throughput while running content from Rift.

A feature called Passthrough+ is coming on the Quest that gives you a stereoscopic view of the outside world. It was already available on the Rift S and it will arrive on the Quest next week. Passthrough “on-demand” will allow you to switch between viewing the virtual and real-world at will and it’s coming later this year.

Finally, the entry-level standalone VR headset Oculus Go had several exclusive apps that will be coming to the Quest. Users who already own Oculus Go apps will be eligible for free upgrades to the Quest versions if they exist. More than 50 Oculus Go titles can be accessed on the Quest from next week.

Facebook Horizon

If you’ve read or watched Ready Player One, the virtual world 'Oasis' depicted in the story is the ultimate VR dream. Facebook is trying to create such a virtual social experience with Horizon. On this platform, users will be able to explore places, play games, build communities, and do much more in a virtual setting. This is essentially Second Life, the online virtual world, in VR where your imagination is the only limitation. A beta rollout is scheduled to begin early next year and if you have either the Oculus Quest or Rift headsets, you can sign up right away.

LiveMaps AR project

Facebook Reality Labs took to the conference and spoke about its research on developing augmented reality experiences. It’s working on a project called ‘LiveMaps’ that will give you a virtual map of the real world via AR glasses and other smart devices. The intention here is to develop a system that isn’t compute-intensive so that the AR experience can run on mobile chipsets. When implemented well, it will enable you to send your avatar to anywhere in the world without physically being present there. The Verge reported that the company said it has a few prototypes of AR glasses but none of them were shown or demoed at the conference.

Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond

What is a VR conference without any news on VR games? Titanfall, Apex Legends and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order developer Respawn Entertainment collaborated with Oculus VR to create a virtual reality take of the Medal of Honor game based during the events of WWII. It will include a full campaign and a multiplayer mode as well. Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond comes out exclusively on the Rift platform in 2020.

You can watch the entire keynote from day 1 at the Oculus Connect 6 conference below:

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