Oculus VR’s annual press conference and gathering of virtual reality (VR) developers is just around the corner, set for 5th – 7th October 2016, San Jose. Previous years have set the roadmap for what’s to come over the next 12 months and this year’s event, Oculus Connect 3, is expected to be no different. But with the head-mounted display (HMD) already available to consumers, what else is there to learn?
The simple answer to that question: plenty. Oculus Rift, as the proprietary software Oculus Home will inform you, in still in beta. The true launch of the device comes later this year with the motion-control input Oculus Touch. However, even then there’ll be plenty more to come with a number of developers having already been connected with the device but yet to reveal their wares. VRFocus has dug-in to previous announcements from Oculus VR to see exactly what could be lying in wait…
Oculus Touch Release Date & Price
A recent leak from a German retailer suggested that Oculus Touch would launch on 21st November 2016, with a price tag of €199 EUR. VRFocus reached out to Oculus VR for comment at the time, with no publishable response. Furthermore, this date doesn’t tally with information VRFocus has received from various developers with deeper working knowledge, and as such is more likely to be a placeholder release date.
So the Oculus Touch release date and price is one key element. But that’s not all that will be expected; Oculus VR recently stated that more than 30 titles would be available for device at launch. We know about quite a few already – VR Sports Challenge, The Unspoken, SUPERHOT, Dead & Buried and Arizona Sunshine for example – but there’s plenty more still to be announced. VRFocus has compiled a short list of AAA developers known to be working with the device but yet to reveal their projects.
4A Games recently began teasing their Oculus Touch project via a 360 degree photo on Facebook and a single teaser image. Having cut their teeth on the Metro franchise it’s likely that 4A Games’ title will be a first-person experience, and given the look of the artwork revealed and the images displayed on the monitors in the 360 degree photo, a science-fiction theme seems the most likely premise for this as-yet-unannounced title.
CCP Games are one of the most prolific VR developers currently on the scene, and also one of the most profitable. Following the launches of EVE: Valkyrie and EVE: Gunjack, the company has already revealed its Oculus Touch title, Project Arena, but is there more to come? You can bet there is. What else is coming from CCP Shanghai? With a dedicated studio researching VR technology in Atlanta, there can’t just be one Oculus Touch experience coming from this talented team? Exactly what else CCP Games have up their sleeve is a mystery, but you can bet there’ll be more than Project Arena and a new update for EVE: Valkyrie on show at Oculus Connect 3.
This is one of the big ones. Epic Games has revealed a new technical demonstration, Showdown and Bullet Train, at each prior Oculus Connect event. It’s easy to predict that the VR team at Epic Games has been hard at work on another showcase for Oculus Connect 3. However, will this finally be the consumer videogame project that Oculus Rift owners have been waiting for? Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has gone on record stating something is in the works, but if there’s one thing to learn about the company it’s that engine tech moves fast, videogames move slow.
Prior to the release of Chronos, Gunfire Games had already informed VRFocus that they were working on more VR videogames. Exactly what these are is not yet known, however it’s more than likely that Oculus Touch factors into the equation. Given the huge success of the studio’s first Oculus Rift title – which launched alongside the HMD itself – it’s possible that the studio is preparing to reveal a demonstration version of their next title at Oculus Connect 3.
Two titles under their belt and a third, The Unspoken, on the way, what’s next from Insomniac Games? It’s unlikely that the studio will rest on their laurels with Edge of Nowhere and Feral Rites – especially given the mixed critical response to the recent release and subsequent price drop of the latter – but will it be ready in time for Oculus Connect 3?
Ready at Dawn
Ready at Dawn is one of the most mysterious entries on this list. Having been confirmed as developing for the Oculus Rift at Oculus VR’s own ‘Step into the Rift’ press conference last May, the studio has spoken to VRFocus on multiple occasions about their forthcoming title, including confirming that it utilises the same engine as the PlayStation 4 exclusive The Order 1886. Yet, nothing has been revealed: no title, not even a single screenshot. Odds are that we’ll finally gain some knowledge at Oculus Connect 3.
Sanzaru Games’ VR Sports Challenge was unveiled alongside the Oculus Touch itself, but has still not yet been released. Since that time, a second project, Ripcoil, has also been announced. We can expect confirmation of a release date for both of these titles at Oculus Connect 3, but what’re the chances of a third?
Another studio revealed as developing for the Oculus Rift at the ‘Step into the Rift’ conference last year, yet that we’ve heard nothing from since. The studio is famed for its Toy Soldiers strategy videogame series and also the free-to-play Ascend: Hand of Kul. Still, nothing is yet known about what the Seattle-based studio is doing in VR: fit for an Oculus Connect 3 reveal if ever it was.
Square Enix were tied to the Oculus Rift, once again, at the ‘Step into the Rift’ conference. However, since then we’ve seen just one title – Hitman GO: VR Edition – for Gear VR and Oculus Rift, but two each announced for PlayStation VR and HTC Vive: Final Fantasy XV: VR Experience and Rise of the Tomb Raider, Kai-ri-Sei Million Arthur VR and Project Hikari, respectively. Is there more to come for the Oculus Rift? Most certainly. And more than likely it’ll come at Oculus Connect 3.
Arguably the most important discussion to be had at Oculus Connect 3 – more so even, than the launch of Oculus Touch – just what exactly do Oculus VR have planned for mobile VR? The recent reveal and subsequent launch of a new Gear VR for the Samsung Note7 smartphone handset was underwhelming to say the least. Google Daydream is looming, and even the likes of Intel and Qualcomm are jumping onboard. Oculus VR certainly have to show their hand soon; let’s hope it makes a big splash at Oculus Connect 3.