After six annual Oculus Connect conferences, Facebook is rebranding its XR developer event with the name Facebook Connect. This year the event will be held online on September 16th.
Although it no longer bears the Oculus name, Facebook says that Facebook Connect will continue to focus on the company’s XR efforts. Ostensibly the company’s other events, like F8, will still focus on Facebook’s broader portfolio of services. The rebranding announcement comes just after the company announced that its VR headsets will eventually require the use of a Facebook account.
The Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in Facebook Connect being shifted to an online event this year, which Facebook announced today will be held on September 16th. The online event will be free for anyone to attend; keynote presentations and sessions will be broadcast on the Facebook Reality Labs Facebook page.
While most sessions will be pre-recorded, Oculus’ Chief Technology Officer, John Carmack has confirmed that his longstanding unscripted keynote will be delivered live. This comes despite Carmack having lessened his commitment to Oculus last year when he announced that he was moving to a “consulting CTO” role to focus most of his time on other projects.
Besides an avenue to connect with XR developers, Facebook has long used Oculus Connect (now Facebook Connect) to make major announcements about upcoming games, hardware, software, and its long-term vision. Facebook is expected to announce the next Quest headset at this year’s event, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see a formal launch of Horizon, the company’s first earnest attempt at a metaverse-like VR social experience. As with years past we’d also expect to get an update from Michael Abrash, the Chief Scientist of Facebook’s XR research division, on the company’s R&D efforts.