At the Oculus Connect 6 event today, Facebook announced the Oculus Link, a device that lets you play PC games with the Oculus Quest.
Mark Zuckerberg hit the stage with the announcement of a new software update in November that would bridge the gap between your computer and the Oculus Quest standalone VR headset. Oculus Link will allow users to tether their Quest to PCs via USB-C and play PC content that is more graphically-rich and power-intensive than what’s currently possible on the headset, which is powered by a mobile chipset. Essentially, the Quest will become an Oculus Rift.
We don’t know any limitations of the system yet, but both the Quest and Rift S share plenty of system specs, so this may be a clear sign that Facebook is pushing Oculus to go all-in on the Quest and possibly leave PC VR behind.
Hand tracking will also be coming to the Quest in early 2020. In a blog post, Oculus said tracking will be an experimental opt-in feature for consumers and part of a software development kit for people building Quest experiences. It also laid out some of the technology behind the tracking — basically, it supplements the existing camera images with “new techniques in deep learning and model-based tracking.”
Zuckerberg went on to announce that the company has surpassed $100 million in revenue in the Oculus store. This figure spans several different virtual reality headsets, but Zuckerberg noted than 20% of that revenue was for Quest titles sold in the past four months, suggesting that users of the new headset are spending plenty of cash on content.
Finally, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be building its equivalent to Ready Player One’s fictional Oasis: Facebook Horizon, a massive multiplayer VR world. Launching in 2020, Facebook Horizon will allow users to design their own diverse avatars and hop between virtual locales through portals called Telepods, watch movies and other media with friends, build their own areas, and play multiplayer games together like Wing Strikers. It will also include human guides, known as Horizon Locals, who can give users assistance and protect their safety in the VR world so trolls can’t run rampant. As part of its launch, Facebook will shut down its existing social VR experiences Facebook Spaces and Oculus Rooms on October 25th. Users interested in early access can apply for the beta here.
Oculus Connect 6 just began, and it’s already looking like Facebook has enormous plans for their VR platform going forward. There’s a lot we don’t know right now, but this massive push for VR has everyone, even the skeptic in me, excited. We’ll bring you more major news from the event as it comes out.