Facebook gets real about broadening virtual reality's appeal

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Although Oculus Gear VR headsets are practically handed out with Samsung smartphones, the company's more expensive Oculus Rift platform doesn't appear to have attracted any real following. The headset uses a "high-resolution fast-switch LCD screen", which likely means 120hz is out of the question.

Barra also previewed a new generation of controllers for this standalone high-end headset. The figure positions it in the sweet spot between the $129 Samsung Gear VR and $399 Oculus Rift. Before you needed a computer that had at least $1,000 in parts to run virtual reality software, but now you can buy pre-built systems for less than $600. The auto company is using Oculus for Business to build VR showrooms to allow customers to walk around the place and configure the vehicle themselves before they make the purchasing decision. However, there's also a 3.5mm headphone jack for private listening, or for when you're getting on your housemates' nerves.

At its fourth annual Oculus Connect conference, the Facebook-owned Oculus announced a series of products to push Facebook's VR-focused strategy.

Developers will be able to target both Gear VR and Oculus Go when building games with Unity, Unreal, or the Oculus Mobile SDK.

The conference also became a witness of the launch of Oculus for Business, which is a professional Rift bundle for businesses.

Project Santa Cruz, a fully 6DOF, positionally tracked headset got updated - which include fully tracked controllers that enable hand presence in the standalone form factor.

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When you tap on the top of the Home Mini it can play and pause music, while a long touch will active Google Assistant. Russakovskii's Home Mini was one of the many test units that Google handed away at the press event last week.

Companies including Qualcomm are developing VR-ready chips, Dubai is planning to utilize virtual reality by creating aquariums to replace traditional security booths, and VR apps are being developed for anything from gaming to healthcare scenarios, where we may one day see our surgeons, doctors, and nurses being trained through VR rather than more traditional methods as they learn about the human body.

Oculus also showcased its new Rift 2.0 interface that's designed around touch and motion control.

The new VR device is developed to be more compact, more powerful graphics, along with cameras that will use inside-out tracking. To top that, Facebook says it will soon let friends hangout in these virtual homes. The VR headset's worldwide version is expected to come along with Oculus branding, while the Xiaomi branding will be implemented in China.

Thor will be the latest in the cast of playable characters for Marvel Powers United VR, launching for Rift in 2018.

The announcement makes a lot of sense for Oculus.

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