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VR vs. Oculus Connect 2 – Get Ready for the Main Event

What a year it’s been. Just 12 short months ago Oculus VR revealed the final prototype for its Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD), dubbed Crescent Bay. Company CEO Brendan Iribe showcased the kit at the inaugural Oculus Connect developer conference, which itself went down as a huge success. Since that time we’ve finally received word of the full retail version of the Oculus Rift, been promised a consumer Gear VR mobile HMD for 2015 and even seen the prototype for Oculus Touch, the much-touted input solution for VR experiences.

Oculus Rift consumer headset

All of that brings us to now, just a day away from Oculus Connect 2, which runs from 23rd – 25th September 2015 at the Loews Hotel in Hollywood, California. While Oculus VR has started to share information about its consumer products, there’s still plenty to learn about each.

Iribe will again be opening Oculus Connect proper this year on the morning of the 24th following the previous day’s workshops and sessions. It’s here that fans can expect to hear the bulk of Oculus VR’s updates, with developer-focused content and smaller announcements likely to be made in the remaining show.

Big reveals are expected for both the Oculus Rift and Oculus Touch. For the former, fans already know that it’s coming in the first 3 months of 2016 and what kind of PC they’ll need to use it. They also know that they’ll need to set aside around $1,500 USD if they’re looking to pick up both the HMD and hardware capable of running it. What they don’t know, however, is the specific launch date for the consumer Oculus Rift, nor its specific price.

Both of these announcements could well be made this week. That Q1 window will be around 3 months away once the show gets underway, giving a 3 – 6 month release window. This feels like the right time for such an announcement for major hardware, especially with pre-orders promised for before years’ end. If it is announced then pricing would be expected to follow, perhaps even in the same sentence.

OculusTouch_3

In terms of Oculus Touch, Oculus VR has only revealed the ‘Half Moon’ prototype for the kit so far. It’s due to arrive after the Oculus Rift itself in the first half of 2016, so the same release and pricing information may not be revealed at Oculus Connect 2. Updates have been promised, however, and perhaps this will relate to a reveal of the consumer hardware or perhaps some official announcements of compatible videogames.

The final Oculus Touch hardware likely won’t change much from what the company is currently showcasing as events around the world. It’s possible that the kit might recognise a wider array of gestures than the current iteration, but expect form factor, button placement and more to remain largely the same.

With that in mind, it would certainly be welcome to see some new software for both the Oculus Rift and Oculus Touch. Oculus VR has already lined up an impressive suite of developers that are working on the device including the likes of Insomniac Games with Edge of Nowhere and High Voltage Software with Damaged Core. There are more studios with unrevealed projects, however; The Order: 1886‘s Ready At Dawn is still to show its VR efforts and, while Square Enix is already doing work with both Gear VR and PlayStation VR, the publisher is yet to reveal what it’s working on for the Oculus Rift.

Speaking of Gear VR, it’s anyone’s guess as to what the company announces at the show. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Iribe invite a Samsung executive on stage to announce the consumer Gear VR before it moves on to the Oculus Rift. Leaks surrounding the device have been shockingly lacking over the past few months given the nature of the mobile industry, but it seems like both Samsung and Oculus VR have played their cards very closely to the chest, despite a few lingering rumours. With that 2015 release still promised, expect to know when this device is launching and a proper price by the keynote’s conclusion.

Oculus Connect 2 is set to be one of the biggest events of 2015 for the VR community, setting up 2016 to be the technology’s biggest year yet. VRFocus will be at the event to bring you all of the latest updates from it.