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Oculus Connect, the flagship VR conference for Oculus from Facebook, took place on October 11-12 in San Jose. Engineers, designers, and creatives from around the world came together to push virtual reality forward, with Unity right alongside them.

Keynote Announcements

Among major announcements at the event were several exciting reveals of how Unity continues to drive VR forward on Oculus platforms.

New Hardware: Oculus Go and Oculus Santa Cruz

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg announced a new goal of achieving one billion VR users, and several key announcements were made that will help them achieve that goal. Oculus Go is an all-in-one, 3DOF standalone headset with an orientation-tracked controller. As a binary-compatible Gear VR build target, Unity is thrilled that you can publish games straight from Unity on the Oculus Go out of the box. This super lightweight headset was designed for ease-of-use, comfort and accessibility. It also features built-in spatial audio to ensure users enjoy the complete experience, making the Oculus Go the easiest way to jump into VR.

The prototype Santa Cruz is an untethered 6DOF headset, allowing users to experience the freedom of positionally tracked VR without cables. The Santa Cruz controllers, built by the same team behind the Touch controllers, introduce four ultra-wide sensors to achieve a large controller tracking volume. This enables natural and unrestricted movement, making the immersion in the VR experience all that more believable.

For more info on both the Oculus Go and the Santa Cruz prototype, check out the blog here.

New Software: Multiview and Rift Core 2.0

Multiview (also known as stereo instancing or single-pass instanced rendering) is an exciting advancement that optimizes performance for stereo images, freeing up overhead on mobile, and increasing draw call performance up to 40% on the API side. After years in development with companies across the industry – including Unity – this is now ready for primetime. Multiview gives you more room for creative and complex content in your experiences.

Rift Core 2.0 introduced Rift’s biggest software update yet. One key system is Dash, a new user interface that’s instantly accessible anywhere in VR. It also enables full desktop access, for a traditional computer monitor with nearly unlimited VR screenspace. That means you can launch and use Unity without leaving VR!

Did you miss it? Watch the keynote here!

Made with Unity at Oculus Connect 4

  • Developer Camouflaj announced that République is coming to Gear VR
  • Brian Howell, head of developer strategy of applications at Oculus, and Maureen Fan, founder of Baobab Studios, shared insights on VR game development in a fireside chat, discussing the state of VR and what the future holds. Baobab also announced the full, commercial release of Asteroids, launching on mobile VR on Christmas Day.
  • Developer Psytec Games announced Windlands 2 for Oculus Rift
  • In a “Shooters and Strategy” session, Trevor Blom, lead developer at Vertigo (Arizona Sunshine and Skyworld), shared his team’s experiences developing their games, including the Unity tools and tricks they used to make their titles available on various VR and hardware platforms.
  • While fewer than 250 people have visited the International Space Station ISS, thousands have  enjoyed the Mission:ISS experience courtesy of VR. A panel of experts, some who’ve been to space and others who brought Mission:ISS to life, discussed how the experience was made and what’s possible when you dare to imagine.
  • Luna by Funomena and Transference by Ubisoft were playable on the show floor, bringing their innovation and creativity directly to attendees through hands-on experiences.

What Makes VR Sticky: Data-Driven Design and Operation Learnings

John Cheng, the general manager of Unity Analytics, presented his initial findings in this session. Among the key takeaways are:

  • Unity powers two-thirds of VR experiences in the world.
  • Unity has identified 12M VR app installs from 4K VR apps across 5M VR devices in 2017.
  • Representing 67% of total global VR installs, Mobile VR is growing faster towards mobile than PC/Console VR. Developers will need to prepare for the upcoming F2P monetization model and focus more on user retention.
  • The VR market shows every unique install and engagement patterns in different regions and on different platforms. Oculus tops in both daily time spent and day-one retention metrics.
  • The VR user market is evolving. In the PC/Console VR market, more new users (283K) are emerging as the barrier to entry has been lowered. Developers will need to segment users based on their experience life cycles.  For example, they will need to provide existing users with  refreshed experiences and new users  with smooth onboarding experiences.
  • Finally, Unity’s Rambod Kermanizadeh walked us through the Firewatch demo, which illustrates how developers can use the Unity Analytics toolkit to collect data, analyze user behavior, and adapt their experiences for different types of VR audiences and users.

That’s a wrap!

Learn more about Unity’s exciting new features in the Oculus Core 2 beta, launching in December 2017.

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  1. Great write up! This was a good way to digest everything that happened in a quick format. I definitely appreciate that.