Last week, Facebook announced a controversial move that, starting this fall, the company will require Oculus virtual reality (VR) headset owners to log in to their Facebook account to access their VR account.
As it turns out, that move seemingly foreshadowed the announcement this week from the Menlo Park, California-based social media giant: The Oculus Connect event brand has been shuttered and will now be known as Facebook Connect. While the Oculus brand itself still remains active, Facebook’s latest moves seem to be focused on bringing its augmented reality (AR)/VR assets under its corporate wing.
Also announced in a Facebook blog post, Facebook Connect will be hosted online on September 16 and free for anyone to attend. In the same post, Facebook has rebranded their AR/VR team to Facebook Reality Labs, which was formerly the name given to the Michael Abrash-led Oculus Research team. Facebook’s messaging states that their reasoning for many of these moves is to bring a more unified brand to their AR/VR business, which is broadening and connecting with different business and development groups areas in the company.
Many details about the Facebook Connect event have yet to be announced, such as the agenda, but presumably the content and speakers will reflect the broadened scope reflected in the event rebranding. In past years, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, Michael Abrash, Chief Scientist at Oculus, and John Carmack, former CTO at Oculus, spoke at Facebook’s flagship VR conferences. It seems a safe bet to expect these keynote staples to continue, Even John Carmack, who has since moved on to Facebook’s AI work in 2019, has said in a tweet he’ll speak this year.
Everything else will be pre-recorded with nice production values, but I will be giving my talk live, in my typical fashion. https://t.co/0Oy8kbBdLg
— John Carmack (@ID_AA_Carmack) August 25, 2020
Among the juicier news that may move from possibility to confirmed news at the upcoming virtual conference is the next generation of the all-in-one Oculus Quest VR system, which has been rumored about since May. The VR roadmap seems a lot clearer than Facebook’s AR plans, most of which is encapsulated in the mobile AR-focused Spark AR Studio. In a pandemic year, finding out how Facebook’s AR and VR product news may be shaped by it is likely to be particularly interesting. As for where to watch Facebook Connect, expect to be able to see the event streamed on Facebook Live, whether in video or in VR, but more details about time and streaming locations are sure to be forthcoming.
We’ll keep an eye on more details about this event as they emerge, especially on Facebook’s moves in AR/VR that may interest the games-playing and developer community. We’ll also update info on the E4G Facebook Connect event listing, too, as we get it!