The second day of this year’s Oculus Connect conference for virtual reality developers kicked off with an announcement-rich keynote presentation. While the event was short on new game announcements, one big one got the crowd’s attention: Minecraft. A brief video confirmed that the hit game’s Windows 10 edition will launch on the Oculus Rift “next year,” and it will allow players to navigate their blocky worlds in VR with the Xbox One controller.
Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe confirmed that the Oculus Touch handheld controller system will launch in the “second quarter next year,” which is a firmer confirmation than a previous “first half of 2016” estimate. After showing off that system’s impressive “toybox” demo, Iribe confirmed that the Touch controllers will require a second motion sensor “for improved sensing,” so be ready to make room in your home’s potential VR room should you want to try the tech out.
The Touch sizzle reel confirmed that a few previously SteamVR exclusive games would now also launch for Oculus Touch, including Job Simulator and The Gallery: Six Elements. It also had Oculus’ own answer to SteamVR’s Tilt Brush, a “digital clay molding” art app called Medium. “Every great platform has to have a paint app, and this is our paint app,” Iribe told the Oculus Connect crowd.
Additionally, Epic Games’ Tim Sweeney took the stage to show off Bullet Train, an upcoming VR action game for Oculus Touch that includes a warping mechanic much like SteamVR’s The Gallery: Six Elements, meaning characters may potentially be able to move around the world without experiencing VR nausea.
Since virtual reality gaming on PCs demands incredibly powerful performance—particularly to support a 90 frames-per-second visual refresh, in order to reduce nausea and discomfort—Oculus announced a new “Oculus Ready” initiative through which computer manufacturers can slap a sticker on a PC that meets Oculus Rift’s performance minimums. Announced partners for the program include Asus, Dell, and Alienware (itself a wholly owned Dell subsidiary).
Oculus wanted the crowd to know that there’s no shortage of interested Oculus developers, so they took the opportunity to announce that “over 200,000” developers had registered to create games for the new VR platform. The company announced that those developers will see version 1.0 of the Oculus Rift SDK in “December,” ahead of the headset’s launch early next year.
The keynote began with Samsung Senior Vice President Peter Koo announcing an updated GearVR headset coming in November for $99. Like the prior “innovator edition” of GearVR, this will allow users to insert certain Samsung phones into a wearable headset to experience a more rudimentary version of virtual reality. That announcement also touched upon virtual-reality versions of video-streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu coming to GearVR “in the next few months.”