This past week the VR company Facebook bought for $2 Billion dollars showed some of their future plans at Oculus Connect, the virtual reality professional development conference sponsored by Oculus. We have a wrap up of the biggest stories to come out of the conference:
Gear VR will get New Streaming options including Netflix, Hulu, and Twitch
Gear VR is the virtual realty project that created a portable virtual reality headset that uses Samsung phones to work. Well now Oculus has shown some of the non-gaming content coming to the portable headset. Streaming content like Hulu and Twitch will be coming later this year but Netflix was announced to be available right now.
We had a chance to test out the VR Netflix option and found it to be very smooth and comfortable. The Netflix TV app puts the user on a couch in a virtual room decorated in popular Netflix content (think posters of Daredevil on the walls). While on the couch user watches Netflix on a big screen TV. The interface is almost exactly like the one you'd use on your traditional PC, phone, or smart TV.
100s of games listed to be ready for Oculus Launch in 2016
Oculus has had their developer kits out for over a year now allowing hundreds of game developers a chance to create game content for the device. The new games announced for the recently announced touch controllers include: Final Approach, Moon Strike, Pulsar Arena, Job Simulator, I Expect You To Die, Nimbus Nights, Dead & Buried, and Surgeon Simulator.
However, the biggest game announcement had to be Minecraft. That's right Minecraft for Windows 10 was added to the list of games to be available for the consumer version of Oculus. Now you can build from a overhead 3rd person view or jump right into the world you create in 1st person virtual reality.
Oculus Ready computers at $1,000
Oculus Ready is a partnership with manufacturers including Asus, Dell, and Alienware, which will guarantee a simple, plug-in-and-go VR experience on PCs carrying the logo. All the PCs in the program are built on Intel and Nvidia hardware, and pricing will begin at under $1000.
This means that you no longer have to worry about building a custom PC for your VR needs. Just look for the Oculus logo on a new PC and know it'll be able to handle the first consumer version of the Oculus Rift.
New Gear VR headset that will work with all Galaxy 2015 phones for $99
The most exciting VR news that came out of Oculus Connect was likely the hefty price drop of the Gear VR from $250 to $99. The additional compatibility with any 2015 Samsung Galaxy phone is a great since it adds a much wider potential audience for the device. Previous versions of Gear VR only worked with one model of the Samsung phone.
The new price plus the added phone compatibility options for the Gear VR make the virtual reality headset much more appealing to the average consumer and may just kick off a new trend for affordable portable VR rigs.