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VR chats, Oculus Touch pricing and a next-gen headset: Everything Oculus announced at the Connect 3 conference

At the Oculus Connect 3 developer's conference, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Oculus execs mapped the future of virtual reality, from VR selfies to a new VR platform on the horizon.

Josh Miller

Amid a week already full of VR products and news from Google and Sony, Facebook and Oculus kicked off the third annual Oculus Connect developer conference in San Jose, California.

Here's everything Oculus announced at the show:

  • The show opened with a video with Owlchemy Labs and game publishers discussing their excitement the first time they experienced the Rift. "We're on the edge of innovation that hasn't happened in decades...this is the year when the world gets to see it, and they're going to believe it."
  • Oculus CEO and co-founder Brendan Iribe took the stage and gave background from the last year: From dev kits to prototypes, "millions" of new arrivals to VR have produced new applications from gaming to science and the "ecosystem has taken off."
  • Brendan introduced Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who described why Facebook wants Oculus to be the next major computing platform. He also promised to get the Oculus Touch in your hands before the end of the year.
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  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg showed off extensive new VR chat features in Oculus Rift, including a trip to the ocean (sharks!), a game of chess, a friendly fencing match, a live video call and a family selfie with a virtual avatar.
  • Mark announced Facebook will invest $250 million in the Oculus developer community, on top of the $250 million that the company has already doled out.
  • Addressing the limitations of computer vision software, Mark demoed a next-gen Oculus VR product: a new standalone VR product platform that's portable and features inside-out tracking.
  • Parties allows eight people to chat in VR.
  • Rooms gives them a virtual meeting space where they can interact, play games and watch video. Both Parties and Rooms are coming to Gear VR "in a few weeks" and to the Rift "early next year."
  • New "Asynchronous Timewarp" and "Asynchronous Spacewarp" features aim to reduce judder and keep Rift frame rate at 90 frames per second, which Oculus feels is the minimum needed for good VR.
  • As a result of Timewarp features, new minimum PC specs have been announced, allowing Rift to work on PCs as affordable as $499.
  • Newly announced Oculus earphones will have drivers optimized for VR. The company claims they'll sound as good as $900 earphones and will available later this year for $49.
  • The CAD and audio guidelines for the headset connector will be made available for anyone to make audio accessories for the Rift.
  • Oculus announced a collaboration with Walt Disney Studios to create VR experiences with some of Disney's "most beloved characters" to be released later in 2016.
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  • Oculus Touch controllers will cost $199 and start shipping December 6. Preorders will be available online and in retail on October 10, and all Touch preorders will include the games VR Sports and The Unspoken (see trailer).
  • Touch also supports room scale using a third sensor (available for purchase for $79 shipping on December 6).
  • Newly announced Touch titles include (click for video) the first-person shooter Arktika 1 by 4A Games, Lone Echo by Ready at Dawn, Robo Recall by Epic Games and more.
  • Max Cohen, head of Mobile at Oculus, announced two new tools for developers: Multiview Support and the Oculus Remote Monitor.
  • Oculus will soon support Livestreaming to offer social-media friends a live broadcast view of what you're seeing in the headset.

You can watch the entire keynote yourself at these two Twitch links: Part 1, Part 2.