During Oculus's keynote presentation at Oculus Connect 2, the company had several announcements about both the upcoming Rift headset and Samsung's GearVR. Oculus has put a lot of work into making VR a compelling experience for consumers to buy into.
After Samsung's Peter Koo announced the consumer GearVR, Max Cohen, Head of Oculus Mobile, came out on stage to talk about some of the new software features that are coming to GearVR. He announced Oculus Arcade and Oculus Video.
Oculus Arcade And Oculus Video
Oculus Arcade is essentially what it sounds like it would be. Oculus has partnered with a number of publishers, including Bandai-Namco, Sega, Midway and Warner Brothers, in order to bring classic arcade games to the GearVR. In addition to hosting such classics as Pacman, Oculus Arcade will be a one-stop location for VR games.
Oculus Video is a combination of video services. Oculus has agreements in place to distribute many popular movies through the GearVR mobile HMD through its own service, in addition to offering support for the most popular streaming services. Netflix support is available today for GearVR Innovator edition owners, and other services such as Hulu and Vimeo will be supported in the coming months.
Oculus has also revealed that Twitch is coming to GearVR through the Oculus Video app. Oculus described watching Twitch as somewhat of a social activity. The company said there will be a virtual room where avatars can watch a virtual video screen showing a Twitch stream. Not only will you be able to chat in text form, but avatars will be able to interact with each other, as well.
The avatar system is something that will be seen on the Rift when it launches next year. Oculus appears to be setting up a system similar to Steam. It said you will have an Oculus ID, and an avatar and a profile to go with it. The company said there will be a marketplace for developers to sell their software. A Concepts section of the store will be available as well, which will let developers pre-sell work-in-progress software similar to Steam Early Access.
The avatar system sounds similar to AltspaceVR. Users will launch into what Oculus is simply calling "Rooms," where you'll be able to interact with other avatars before entering a game or application.
During the keynote presentation, Palmer Luckey came out on stage and made one enthusiastic announcement: He proudly, and loudly, declared that Minecraft will be coming to Oculus Rift in the spring of 2016.
The Windows 10 edition of Minecraft will include support for Oculus Rift next spring, which will either be in time for, or shortly after, the launch of the Rift virtual reality HMD. Not much else is known at this time, but it was important enough for it to be the only thing Palmer Luckey talked about on stage.
Oculus also revealed Medium, and it might have been the most impressive announcement during the company's keynote. Medium is a software tool that will ship with Oculus Touch in the second quarter of 2016. For all intents and purposes, it is a virtual reality sculpting application. Using the Rift HMD and Oculus Touch controllers, artists can create virtual objects as if they were carving them from clay in the real world. Not much was explained about it, but the company showed a video to introduce Medium that had real sculptors trying it and reacting very positively to the experience. It looks like a promising application for 3D artists.