Facebook Connect launched as it has when the event was known as Oculus Connect: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined the biggest news around the social media and technology giant’s virtual reality ecosystem — except he did so online.
Which was some of the biggest news from Facebook Connect that might affect gamers who are interested in the near future? Here’s the rundown of several of the highlights:
Quest 2 VR Headset
Confirming many of the rumors and leaks ahead of the conference, the Quest 2 VR headset led the announcements at Facebook Connect. The Quest 2 will be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 chipset, with 6GB of RAM, a new LCD display, a 50% increase in pixel resolution (1,832 x 1,920 per-eye) via an updated LCD display. The 90Hz refresh rate should help deliver a snappier, smoother set of visuals as well. For better or worse, the Quest 2 will also be the first of Facebook’s VR headsets to require a Facebook login to connect to the user’s account.
With the Quest 2’s imminent arrival, the original standard-bearer for Facebook’s VR push, the PC-only hardware Rift S, will no longer be offered but will continue to be supported as a platform. For example, the first-person shooter, Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, will receive an Oculus Rift and Steam release in December 2020.
Several early editorial reviews of the Quest 2 are out and most seem to have a positive of this next step in Facebook’s VR journey. Pre-orders for the Quest 2 headset with 64GB storage are open now with a price tag of $299 and $399 for the 256GB storage version. The Quest 2 headset is scheduled for launch on October 13.
Oculus VR Games
Facebook’s touting the potential for gaming via their VR platforms, with 35 titles said to have pulled in millions in revenue. Held up as an example for the potential of VR to rake in significant money, the multiplayer shooter VR game, Onward, made $1 million in revenue in 4 days. But, what VR entertainment is coming down the pipeline that might convince gamers to open their wallets?
Facebook came to play, so to speak, with both AAA and indie properties and publishers/developers announcing fresh support for Facebook’s VR platforms. Ubisoft will be rolling out Oculus VR games drawing from the Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell and Assessin’s Creed.worlds. Familiar properties to many gamers, like Star Wars, Jurassic World, Myst, Beat Saber, will also see new Quest titles.
If you want to get caught up on the latest games coming to Quest VR, check out Facebook’s games announcement blog post (complete with video trailers for many of these title).
Other News from Facebook Connect
- Logitech’s one of the first consumer product companies to announce support for the Quest 2 headset, specifically with audio accessories, the G333 earbuds and the G Pro wired headset headphones.
— Logitech G (@LogitechG) September 18, 2020
More interesting for the future, Facebook announced a partnership with Logitech to introduce a physical keyboard (and help to make text input easier) in VR, beginning with the Logitech K830. The most prominent use case is for work from home environments, but it also might make more text entry-reliant gaming experiences easier to interact with.
- John Carmack, who left his CTO role at Oculus in 2019 but still serves in a consulting CTO role, delivered what has become a centerpiece among the talks at past Oculus (Facebook) Connect events. Carmack didn’t disappoint this time either, delivering a nearly 90 minute unscripted talk via stream. As for being unscripted, when John Carmack expresses “embarrassment” over Facebook’s management of their social VR story, that underscores his latitude in speaking freely on Facebook’s moves in VR and AR. His talk, whether online or in-person. remains a strong draw with interesting technical and business insights.
- Facebook Connect, like any event, is more than its C-level speakers. Besides keynotes and featured talks, a wide variety of other speakers covered topics like Unreal Engine and Unity XR development, diversity, storytelling in VR, and more.The on-demand videos are hosted on the Facebook Reality Labs Facebook “Watch” page.