Oculus today announced it will offer an immersive livestream during the company’s annual Oculus Connect developer conference, including coverage of the opening keynote and several VR esports championships hosted during the event. Owners of the Oculus Go or Gear VR headsets can join the immersive livestream via the Oculus Venues app which is unfortunately not available to the company’s desktop-based users who own the Oculus Rift.

Continuing a trend of an awkwardly incohesive product ecosystem which does little to allow users of its mobile and desktop headsets to engage with one another, Oculus today announced a schedule of immersive livestreams that will offer some sense of virtual attendance to Oculus Connect. Through the Oculus Venues app, which is only available on Gear VR and Go, users will be able to tune in to the following events:

  • September 26th
    • 10AM PT: Oculus Connect 5 keynote
    • 12AM–5PM PT: Esports coverage begins
    • 6PM–10PM PT: Onward Grand Finals
  • September 27th
    • 10AM PT: Oculus CTO John Carmack Unscripted Keynote
    • 12PM–4PM PT: Echo Arena Grand Finals

Oculus has partnered with immersive content company Supersphere to produce the VR livestreams for Oculus Connect. Through Oculus Venues users will have a social viewing experience where they can see and talk to other users watching the broadcast simultaneously.

A screenshot from an Oculus Venues broadcast shows many users watching an event together. | Image courtesy Oculus

“For the keynotes, we’ll focus on switching live 180° cameras on the speakers, along with graphics integration. The esports tournaments will blend live cameras and multiple gaming inputs. We’ll also debut brand-new technology that creates immersive outputs from the game engines themselves, for a true 180°/360° observer view of the gameplay,” said Lucas Wilson, Supersphere’s Founder & Executive Producer. “This is the first time that viewers will be inside this rich, more immersive look at gameplay. We worked closely with the talented teams at Facebook, Oculus, and ESL to build a complete set of immersive environments that fans will love.”

From Wilson’s description, it sounds like this will be the most advanced and produced livestream to come from Oculus Connect yet. The ability to get streaming views from inside the games themselves sounds very interesting, but the irony can’t be escaped that—despite that it’s Rift games being broadcast—Rift users won’t be able to see these immersive views for themselves as Oculus Venues is not available on the Rift.

Oculus Confirms Four VR eSports Tournament Finals Coming to Oculus Connect 5

Oculus instead suggests that Rift users consider jumping inside Oculus Home where they could virtually visit with other Rift users (but not friends using Go or Gear VR) while watching the standard 2D livestream from the event. A half-hearted consolation for what is arguably the company’s most engaged userbase.

Oculus Connect 5 will be held next week in San Jose, CA on September 26th & 27th at the McEnery Convention Center.

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  • Firestorm185

    As a Rift owner, these slip-ups by their team are starting to get a little infuriating.

    • polysix

      though it’s not really a slip up, more a willful priority put on mobile, which they’ve been doing since Gear VR!

      I owned a DK2 and currently own Rift CV1 (have also had PSVR and VIVE and Rift is easily the best all rounder – way higher quality than vive, much better controls etc). BUT… they do seem, still, to think of PC VR as an afterthought, and santa cruz, soon, is only going to make that more so.

      It’s a shame that VR, needing all the power it can get to make it properly compelling and not gimmicky is being prioritized on mobile just for the numbers. Yes you may spread the VR gospel further, but it may not stick if people only get non positional gear/go style VR without proper power or controls….

      Santa Cruz will at least give proper tracking/controls.. but will still lack quite a bit of power.

      • Firestorm185

        totally agree.

    • Pablo C

      It´s just the way the company is going (facebook oriented). For serious VR, PC gamers will have to migrate. See where the Vive is going: while rudimentary, they already have a Hi-res device and a wireless system (meanwhile, Oculus is teasing with low spec/portable devices). My next VR device (some years from now) will very likelly not be an Oculus one.

  • Xron

    Hope to see some info about Santa Cruz and atleast a bit about cv2 progress.

  • jasonmartino

    I have a strong suspicion that Facebook cares more about consumers than gamers. They want to get low cost headsets on people that are self contained and don’t need a high-end PC. Oculus Go and Santa Cruz have a built in app store and no cord. They’re easy to take on and off. They turn on quickly. When resolutions bump up, they will be perfect devices for consuming media and playing fun platform games and FPS games that don’t require a $1000 GPU. But most importantly, these lower end devices will be cheap enough to put in schools and under Christmas trees, because Facebook’s ultimate goal is to get millions of people on VR so that they can connect through Facebook social apps.

    • Mei Ling

      Not sure if this comment is intended to be negative or positive but there are obviously pros and cons to their approach. The pros being that the easy accessibility offered by their devices will get more people into VR and raise awareness of this technology which leads to more supply and demand. It’s great for the market. The cons being that potentially Facebook have access to tens or even hundreds of millions of personal data through the use of these devices through data mining which leads to privacy issues, invasive advertising and all that sort of stuff.

      It all depends on what you want; would you like VR to go mainstream more rapidly and therefore have the technology improve at a much faster rate with more competition and lower prices or would you want Facebook out of the picture and allow VR to steadily gain ground through word of mouth albeit the technology catching on with the mainstream more slowly which means a much slower rate of progress. Either way looks like the first is your only option.

      • polysix

        the risk is the limited, not proper controller, not positionally tracked ‘VR’ (which really isn’t without positional tracking and some kind of real agency) will actually make people think VR is a short lived/boring gimmick and PUT THEM OFF “Real VR” on PC. Santa Cruz will bridge the gap but still lack power.

        Right now as a massive fan of VR going back to DK2 (have had vive, psvr and rift cv1 < currently owning the last one only as it's the best), I'm a bit tired of the cartoon worlds and dumbed down experiences, as good as VR is itself , it needs proper immersive worlds to come off as more than a short lived gimmick. Those soccer moms buying oculus GO may initially get a lot of people to try VR but you bet they WILL NOT STAY.. just like Wii/motion controls sold well to casuals but attachment rates for software were low.

        I think facebook is to blame for forcing emphasis onto casual/social and 'video' (i.e mostly boring/novelty) VR before VR is even ready for real prime time (power, res and controls wise). True VR fans will always hold out for proper VR and are the ones that'll stick with it, casuals will come and go and probably aren't even the right target audience for wanting to sit with something on there head as much as us VR nerds. It's a fact, VR is a hard sell unless you experience top end VR and WANT to in it. I think they'd have been better chasing the top end first, pleasing the geeks, perfecting the tech, reaching the ideals, then let that fitler down in 5+ years to the casuals.

        Otherwise they risk putting millions off VR before it's even really hear.


    • MosBen

      I think that you’re right, but I also think that that’s a good thing. There will always be a market for high end devices for people who want to spend the money, but the bigger market, and the way that VR will grow to become a major media and artistic platform like TV, movies, novels, etc., is through cheaper, lower cost devices that will allow people who don’t own an expensive gaming PC to experience compelling VR experiences.

      • Icebeat

        You mean like the GearVR or the Google Cardboard, that awesome experiences that nobody care/want to repeat. It was mass market and failed.

        • MosBen

          Cardboard and GearVR are fun experiments, but no, that’s not what ImI thinking about. A key to a good VR experience is room tracking and tracked controllers. When those features make their way onto affordable systems that don’t need to be wired to a gaming PC, thatst when I think the mainstream will take notice, and that will be good for VR.

    • Icebeat

      I think that everybody has a clear idea of what Oculus/Facebook is trying to do here, and why they are not going to succeed. The number of haters of Mr. Zuckerbeck and his social media is too big to be ignored. I personally thanks Facebook for the money put into the VR industry and I very sorry to see then lost the way.
      Note: A guy regular to the X film industry told me four months ago that Oculus Go was the best experience ever because he could watch his “Videos” anywhere and with an incredible image quality. The same guy is trying to buy a Pimax 8K now because the image quality is incredibly better than the shit of the GO.

  • dk

    weeeell it’s online

    • KUKWES

      yup I tried watching it last year. Charlie Chaplin films had better quality

      • dk

        so u think the app will be better quality than any other online stream …sure

  • By any chance wi will get CV2 relase date?

    • Shawn MacDonell

      Doubtful. Will be focused on Santa Cruz information. We may see technologies and possibly a new feature prototype, but I doubt we’ll see anything on Rift 2 itself. A release date is out of the question.

    • polysix

      nah… Rift 2 will probably (hopefully and crucially) be next years connect.

      Though with facebook, you never know, they could go full out mobile/casual and really put rift on the backburner, which was always the risk with those B***ards!

      And that’s from a current rift owner who thinks it’s the best one he’s owned (from dk2, vive psvr and rift). Rift is great, rift 2 would/should be awesome, but carmack’s priority is STILL mobile, and facebook love mobile/drm/self contained/appstore models without any other systems (esp open systems like PC) needed. It’s a slippery slope. While oculus are the best at getting the hardware right at the moment they are the worst at prioritising PC VR.

  • MosBen

    I’m super excited for this year’s Connect. I’ve been saying for a long time that Santa Cruz was going to be the product that really opened things up for VR to mainstream audiences. Depending on how much it costs, it’s probably the device that I’ll recommend to friends and family members who are looking at getting into VR. This and CES in January should be really interesting for the future of VR.

    • polysix

      santa cruz will be cool for us already VR nuts who want proper controls and positional tracking but freedom and ease of use, I’ll prob get one to back up my Rift, but I honestly doubt it’ll sell well to casuals. VR isn’t for casuals, go is a short lived gimmick to them, just like Wii was. Real VR (PC VR esp) is amazing and will only get better, but us nerds understand the ins/outs of VR and why etc.. casuals will just feel limited in gear VR/go.. and get bored by those cartoony, agency lacking ‘experiences’… it’s just how it always goes, these are NOT smart phones that you MUST have that also happen to play games, people need tons of reasons to buy even a GO let alone a more expensive santa cruz.

      They are aiming the past 2/3 years primarily at casuals to the expense of the hardcore VR users on PC, and it may shoot them in the foot. The true LOVE of VR comes from PC users, not soccer moms! And that won’t change for many many years when tech is a LOT better in the casual space (and a lot cheaper).

      • Holger Fischer

        Well, they got my money for Rift and Touch on the first day. They will have to do a lot better than GO or Santa Cruz if they want my money again. If others beat them to it … you can only spend it once …

  • James P.

    Wow.. This is just the latest example of the cold shoulder Oculus has been giving their Rift customers.. it’s just rude.

    • Rogue Transfer

      John Carmack answered this on Twitter recently, the Rift budget went on games, the mobile budget is mostly on everything else.

  • care package

    Doubt Oculus even sees Valve as competition at this point. I certainly don’t, so ya no.

    • brandon9271

      You don’t think Valve is a competitor in the PC VR space? You think Oculus Home isn’t threaten by Steam? O-K… lol

      • care package

        A competitor sure. Faceplant scared? No. I misspoke a bit. I doubt they see Vive as a threat, especially now.

  • mirak

    The gear be is garbage in terms of comfort.
    I use it only to watch movies in the train.

  • Pablo C

    Rift owner here. For serious VR, PC gamers will have to migrate. See where the Vive is going: while rudimentary, they already have a Hi-res device, a wireless system, and the knuckles (consumer versions). Meanwhile, Oculus is teasing with low spec/portable devices. They are going separate ways, which makes sense: Steam is for gaming, Facebook is for something else.