Facebook had a wealth of information to share during its Facebook Connect 2021 event, including new VR and AR announcements along with a massive rebranding for the company.
In order to catch you up on everything, here’s a handy list of all of Facebook’s major announcements, starting with the most obvious.
Facebook Rebrands as Meta
By far the biggest announcement of the show was Facebook rebranding itself under the name “Meta.” This is the new company name, but the apps that the company develops, like Facebook, Instagram, etc, will supposedly still remain the same. The choice is obviously meant to coincide with the company’s new initiative on developing their “metaverse.”
The Metaverse is what FAcebook spent the majority of its time unpacking, as it’s meant to be the “next evolution of social connection.” There were a number of new features the company highlighted, starting with Horizon Home, which transforms the home screen of Oculus into a sort of gathering place for friends and family. Here people can watch videos together, dive into games, and more. To coincide with this is the Horizon Marketplace, where creators and developers can sell their own virtual goods.
On top of all this, Facebook is working to bring a wide array of 2D apps to virtual reality, including Slack, Dropbox, Instagram, and more. While Facebook Connect provided a quick look at the “metaverse,” the company stressed that it’s a huge initiative that it’s dedicating a $150 million fund to help progress. We’re likely to see much more on the metaverse moving forward.
Oculus Partners With Vertigo Games
Oculus is partnering with Vertigo Games, the studio behind Arizona Sunshine, After the Fall, Star Trek: Bridge Crew, and more. While there weren’t any new games announced during the event, the partnership will produce five new VR titles for Oculus.
While it’s not related to Vertigo, a few other VR announcements were made; including custom sabers for Beat Saber, autumn and winter events for Population: One, and Blade & Sorcery: Nomad coming to Oculus Quest 2 later this year.
GTA San Andreas Coming to Quest 2
Apart from the smaller announcements, the other major piece of Oculus news was the announcement of a VR version of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Much like the VR version of Resident Evil 4 that released this month, the new version of San Andreas will be completely adapted for a VR experience, a first for the Grand Theft Auto series.
Project Cambria Is a New High-End VR Headset
Facebook briefly teased something called Project Cambria, a new high-end VR/AR headset. This is a brand new product that will supposedly have quite a high price point and will include cutting-edge innovations that Facebook can’t currently put in the Oculus Quest 2. The event didn’t show much of the new headset, although it does look lighter and slimmer than most headsets on the market right now. We’ll learn more about Project Cambria next year.
Facebook’s AR Glasses, Project Nazare
The last big announcement during Facebook Connect was Project Nazare, the company’s first “fully-fledged augmented reality glasses.” The segment showed a simulation of what using the glasses would look like, with animated characters popping up around a table, text messages popping up into the air, etc. The glasses will be just over 5mm thick, but are still early in the prototype phase it seems. A blog post from the company says Project Nazare is “still a few years out.”