Facebook announces social VR concepts, cheaper standalone VR headset and more at Oculus Connect 3

At third Oculus Connect event, Facebook rolled out its latest hardware, partnerships and plans for years ahead.


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Oculus Connect 3

Some of the fabulous ideas in virtual reality came together at Facebook’s third Oculus Connect conference, as the social media giant revealed its latest hardware, partnerships and plans for upcoming years.

Standalone VR Headset

Facebook is working on a new virtual reality product — a mysterious mid-range standalone headset that is way more advanced than its rivals Samsung’s Gear VR. Unlike Oculus Rift, it does not need any connection to high powered personal computer.

See also: Facebook Messenger now lets everyone use end-to-end encryption

“We believe that there is a sweet spot” between those products for a new device, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Thursday at the Oculus Connect event in San Jose, California. He cautioned developers not to get excited as the product isn’t ready yet for launch.

Oculus Touch

Meanwhile, the company said that it has made significant progress with Advanced Micro Devices and Nvidia to pair the Oculus Rift with cheaper computers. For example, one Cyberpower computer with AMD graphic chip for use with the Rift starts at $499 (roughly Rs. 51,900).

Oculus Touch hand controllers will start shipping from December, and can be pre-ordered starting October 10 for $199 (around Rs. 20,000), the company announced.

Oculus Touch

Oculus Avatars

Somewhat different than the social experience Facebook is designing, Oculus is developing customizable avatars to give an identity to every person in VR — based on person’s own look in real life.

The avatars are able to detect hand movements and expressions, aiming to provide a sense of social presence as they interact with other avatars in a virtual world.

“Virtual reality is the perfect platform to put people first, because of presence,” Zuckerberg said. “You feel like you’re really there, in another place, with people.”

Oculus has so far spent $250 million (roughly Rs. 2.52 billion) on developers of VR experiences, and plans to pledge $250 million more, Zuckerberg said. About $10 million will go to education experiences specifically.

Read next: Facebook launches Marketplace to let you buy and sell items with your local community

The company also announced a browser, Carmel, to allow people to surf the web in VR, as well as new earphones sold separately for $49 that will provide better VR sound.


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