Facebook Connect, previously known as Oculus Connect, is happening very soon. The event is dedicated to updates and information on the company’s virtual reality and augmented reality technologies, including those created by Facebook’s Oculus division. As such, we may see a successor to the Oculus Quest 2, among other announcements.
Facebook Connect kicks off on October 28, 2021, and will open with a keynote speech from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who is expected to go into greater detail about Facebook’s rebranding, as well as the plans for the so-called “metaverse” that the company has undergone a huge hiring spree to prepare for.
Oculus Consulting CTO (and father of Doom) John Carmack is also expected to make an appearance, with a speech about the future of VR and the accomplishments of Facebook Reality Labs. Some fresh leaks also suggest we could see announcements for a new Oculus headset (potentially the Oculus Quest 3 or Quest Pro) alongside new controllers and a charging dock.
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How to watch Facebook Connect
The Facebook Connect event takes place on October 28 at 10am PT / 1pm EDT / 6pm BST / 7pm CEST. If you’re in Australia, you’ll have to wake up early to catch the event on October 29 at 4am AEST.
The event is being hosted by Facebook Reality Labs over on its official Facebook page, where you’ll be able to watch it live at the times outlined above. If you miss it live, we expect the Facebook Connect event will be uploaded to the official Oculus YouTube channel after the fact, as it was in prior years.
Facebook Connect: what we want to see
Oculus Quest 3 or Oculus Quest Pro
We obviously love the Oculus Quest 2, but we think it’s fair to say it’s getting a bit long in the tooth as far as VR headsets go. It’s still widely the most used VR headset on Steam thanks to its great combination of specs and price point, but we’re ready for a successor to assume the throne.
As shown in the leaks linked above, a new Oculus headset seems to be all but confirmed ahead of the Facebook Connect event. The new headset features controllers that lack the Quest 2’s tracking rings, which perhaps signifies that Oculus has developed a new method of inside-out tracking that doesn’t require the common ring design found on other Quest devices, as well as Valve Index.
New Oculus headset price and release date
Assuming the above is true, and we’re granted a look at a brand new Oculus Quest headset, it’s only natural that we’d love details on not just specs (which we would hope are improved over the Quest 2), but also price and release date.
We’d hope the price point falls in line with that of the Quest 2, which retails for $299 / £299. We don’t expect the new headset would cost any less than that, but if it fell somewhere close, say around $329 / £329 due to improved specs, we’d say that would be a fantastic sweet spot to hit.
And it’s ambitious, but an Oculus Quest 3 / Quest Pro release date ahead of 2021’s holiday season would give gift buyers something to look out for before the year is out. More realistically, though, would be a release date sometime in 2022. Perhaps in Q1 or Q2 to help shore up sales figures before the end of the financial year.
Facebook’s rebranding and “metaverse” explained
We’re really curious to learn what Facebook’s rebranding is going to be all about. As mentioned above, CEO Mark Zuckerberg is expected to spend some of his keynote speech addressing changes coming to the social media platform. It has been posited that the rebranding is an effort for the company to distance itself from the toxicity it’s been associated with in recent years. But we don’t think a name change would solve that problem, so there’s likely more to the rebranding than meets the eye.
Facebook’s so-called “metaverse” is suggested to be a huge part of this rebranding, and could marry the company’s social roots more closely to Oculus virtual and augmented reality.
An MSNBC blog post by writer Ja’han Jones posits that Facebook’s metaverse could provide virtual social spaces for headset users to hang out in. Be that virtual concerts, schools or work meetings. There’s potential for the project to take a step forward in terms of social tech, but it’s not without its more concerning elements.
One of Oculus Quest’s biggest caveats is that you must be signed into a Facebook account to use the device’s online services (that is, unless you use third party tools like SideQuest to bypass the account check). It’s a policy we expect the company to keep, and with devices so affordable and widely available, we have to wonder if Facebook is aiming to corner the VR market as it has largely done with social media.
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