Facebook-owned Oculus VR is now hosting its second-annual developer conference, where engineers, designers, and industry experts all come together to help shape the Oculus platform and the future of virtual reality.
The conference will feature keynotes from notable people in the field, including CEO Brendan Iribe as well as CTO John Carmack, though the main keynote from Oculus Connect 2 is already done and dusted. It kicked off at 10 am PST on 24 September and covered a range of software and hardware bits, such as the debut of a new Gear VR made in conjunction with Samsung.
To help you quickly learn about the new Gear VR, as well as all the other major announcements from Oculus Connect 2 (also referred to as Oculus Connect 2015), we've rounded up everything you need to know.
New Gear VR
After two years of working together - Samsung and Oculus are ready to release a new, co-developed consumer headset. It will cost $99 (roughly £64) when it launches globally in November. Called Gear VR, it follows a previous version of the headset that cost around $200.
The upcoming Gear VR is scheduled to launch in the US before Black Friday, and then it'll roll out worldwide shortly after. It will work with Samsung's entire 2015 smartphone line-up, which includes the Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge+, Galaxy S6, and Galaxy S6 Edge.
It will also be lighter and more comfortable than the previous Gear VR that only worked with the Galaxy S6 or the Note 4. Keep in mind this is a budget headset, so the phone powers the experience. You slot the phone into the headset and wear the headset like a pair of goggles.
Oculus Touch release date
Oculus announced that its Oculus Touch controllers will arrive in the second quarter of next year. Alongside that announcement, the company also debuted a new trailer for the input device in order to show what it can do when paired with the upcoming, consumer-model Oculus Rift.
Oculus Touch is a new VR input device that Oculus VR unveiled alongside the Oculus Rift earlier this summer. It's supposed to make it feel as though you're using your own hands - rather than a gamepad like the Xbox One controller - when in a virtual reality environment.
Oculus Touch consists of a pair of tracked controllers. They're designed to deliver a "hand presence" - which is something that Oculus VR has described as "the sensation of feeling as though your virtual hands are actually your own".
Minecraft for Oculus Rift
A Microsoft executive joined Palmer Luckey, the co-founder of Oculus VR, on stage at Oculus Connect 2 to confirm the Windows 10 version of Minecraft is coming to the Oculus Rift headset, but we won't know more until spring 2016, when the headset is set to release.
Oculus has yet to announce am exact release date for its virtual reality headset, but whenever it does arrive, Minecraft will be made available on both the Windows Store and Oculus Store. Microsoft previously promised to support Oculus' brand of virtual reality.
With the Oculus Rift, you’ll be able to play Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition in Creative or Survival mode in full 3D. It supports multiplayer too, so you can play cooperatively as well as build and explore your virtual world with friends.
Oculus announced a new creative program called Medium at Oculus Connect 2. It will allow you to create three dimensional objects in a virtual reality environment. The company has described it as being sort of like Microsoft's iconic Paint app.
"This is going to be our paint app," Brendan Iribe, Oculus' CEO, told the audience, while explaining that every new medium needs a paint app. It will release alongside Oculus Touch next year. Watch the trailer to learn more.
Epic's Bullet Train
Epic Games, the studio behind Gears of War, has unveiled its new virtual reality game. Called Bullet Train, it's developed in Unreal Engine 4 and works with Oculus Touch, allowing you to use two motion-sensing controllers to interact with the environment. Watch the game's trailer above.
"Use motion controls in the role of an agent undergoing an infiltration simulation set inside a modern train station," explained the trailer's description. "Master the art of teleportation, time manipulation, and close-quarters combat to blast through resistance forces."
VR content and partnerships
Oculus said Netflix is coming to Gear VR, though you can also download it right now directly to your existing hardware. Oculus also talked about its video platform called Oculus Video. It will soon feature VR content from Alien Trilogy, Lionsgate, as well as Facebook's 360 degree videos.
Oculus is further partnering with Twitch to deliver gaming streams, while other new and notable partnerships include ones with Vimeo and Hulu - the latter of which revealed it is planning to build VR-native videos for the Rift and Gear VR.
And finally, Oculus put together the above trailer to show off some upcoming games for Rift.
Is that it?
Nope. Here are some of the smaller bits that were announced...
Oculus SDK 1.0 release date
When the new Gear VR and Oculus Rift release in November and next spring, respectively, they'll need virtual reality content to play. To help studios get that content ready, Oculus plans to update its software-development kit for developers.
The new SDK, called Oculus SDK 1.0, will arrive in November and should come with direct drivers that enable the headset to work without setting up the Rift as an external monitor, among other things.
Oculus has already revealed you'll need a PC to use its consumer-model Oculus Rift headset, but now it has confirmed which systems will support Rift. Oculus said it is working with Dell, Alienware, and Asus on a line of "Oculus Ready" PCs that'll cost less than $1,000 each.
Want to know more?
Check out Pocket-lint's Oculus hub for more of the latest.