Oculus has announced several big updates, including a significant software overhaul, a price drop, and a new piece of hardware.
Oculus is currently holding its fourth annual Oculus Connect event in San Jose, where it announced a software update called RiftCore 2.0, which will be a “complete overhaul of Rift’s core experience”.
The biggest update is Dash, a UI system which will allow you to use aspects of your PC in the headset – including applications such as Facebook, Spotify and web browsing.
Watching the demonstration, it looks much like the future of technology in Spielberg’s Minority Report, with the user dragging screens to create an array of displays around them. The closest we have come to this design so far has been augmented reality interfaces of devices such as Microsoft’s HoloLens.
The other major feature of Rift Core 2.0 is Home – a hub system in which players will be able to personalise and inhabit a virtual home. It appears there will be various locations where you can situate your home, including within what look like maritime, jungle and space themes.
Users will be able to decorate the space to their liking with toys, furniture, and artwork, though Oculus has not yet announced how you will access these items or if they will need to be purchased.
The demo shows players engaging in activities such as archery and target shooting, and Oculus has said you can share and spend time in your home with other Oculus users. This concept is very similar to PlayStation Home, the hub application Sony attempted on the PS3.
These features and more will be part of the RiftCore 2.0 update, which Oculus said will be a free release this December.
The other big announcement was a new wireless headset called the Oculus Go. This headset will not require any cables or a mobile phone, and appears to be Oculus’s attempt to break into lower end VR headset market, currently dominated by Gear VR. It will retail for US$199.
Oculus said that the Go’s source code will be compatible with Gear VR, making it easy for developers to simultaneously develop for both devices. Oculus said the best of the mobile VR content library will be available from the launch of the new headset.
Oculus also announced the Rift would be getting a price cut from US$449 to US$399.