The Oculus Connect 5 event is happening right now and there’s a lot going on in the world of Oculus VR. When the Oculus Rift launched in 2016 it was more of a general-purpose VR device. Following the acquisition by Facebook in 2014, it seemed to expand beyond the gaming domain that Palmer Luckey and John Carmack had targeted with the first prototypes. Yesterday Mark Zuckerberg introduced the Oculus Quest, their first “all-in-one VR gaming system.” The big draw for this new device is that it doesn’t require a PC, wires or any external sensors.
The Oculus Quest is the third of Oculus headsets, with the original Oculus Rift being used to leverage the full power of the PC, while the Oculus Go was the easiest and most affordable way to get into VR. The Oculus Quest aims to combine the best of both worlds in order to expand the reach of the VR community. Originally unveiled at Oculus Connect 3 in 2016, the Project Santa Cruz was the first prototype of this “standalone form factor” VR device. It completely dispenses with HDMI cables tethering the user to a PC, but also requires no mobile device. Gamers will “just put on a completely untethered headset and be instantly transported to any number of virtual worlds.”
The VR device will be available in 2019 for $399. Oculus Studios, their development division, has “over 50 titles in the works.”
Oculus Studios will also publish games by other studios. One of the most anticipated exclusive Oculus titles unveiled at Oculus Connect 5 is Lone Echo II, the sequel to the 2017 sci-fi adventure game by Ready At Dawn. The original protagonists Jack and Liv return in the sequel. Players can can revisit the rings of Saturn to unravel the mysteries of Lone Echo and journey deeper into space. A 360 trailer is available in the official website. However, this is an Oculus Rift exclusive title. According to the 360 trailer experience page, the Oculus Quest and GearVR are unsupported devices.
Another greatly anticipated title unveiled at Oculus Connect 5 is Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series. Developed by ILMxLAB, which is Lucasfilm’s immersive entertainment division, formed in 2015, Vader Immortal aims to transport players to the world of Star Wars. Previous experiments in VR from the studio were Trials on Tatooine, where players could brandish a lightsaber to deflect the blasts from Stormtroopers’ blasters. The roles were reversed in Secrets of the Empire, where a rebel turned undercover Stormtrooper with the blaster in hand. These VR experiments culminated in Vader Immortal, which should be the first in a series of Star Wars VR games. It will launch for the Oculus Quest in 2019.
What do you think of the Oculus Quest? Is a standalone VR device more attractive than the powerful PC-tethered Oculus Rift? What VR games are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below.