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At the Oculus Connect developer conference, one of the company’s veteran executives offered some insights on the end of its best-selling product. “As we move forward into the future with Quest, it is probably time for me to give a bit of a eulogy for Gear VR,” CTO John Carmack told the audience

Carmack detailed that the current software was current but that Samsung’s latest and future phones will not support the headset and its “days were numbered.”

“I do think we missed an opportunity here,” said John Carmack. “I invested a whole lot of effort into it and it’s the foundation that we based all of the mobile things off of.”

The headset was first launched in 2014 with an Innovator Edition that supported the Note 4 and endured a number of editions that made minor adjustments to the size and onboard electronics of the headset. Users could slot their Samsung phones into the headset, which would then launch Oculus’s software and storefront.

Carmack said that the headset line was the company’s best selling by far but that it was also the least retentive of users, trailing Rift, Quest and Go. This isn’t hugely surprising given the friction it took to get into an experience as well as just how many of the headsets were given away for free through bundle deals.


TechCrunch

At its developer conference Wednesday, Oculus showed off a pair of prototype designs for its next high-end headsets.

Two years ago, Oculus showed off its Half Dome prototype which utilized a technology called varifocal lenses to allow users to adjust where the points of focus were in an image, this is technology similar to what Magic Leap uses on its headset, but is designed to allow for a much greater range of focal planes.

The company showed off tow new prototypes including a “Half Dome 2” prototype and a “Half Dome 3” prototype.

“Half Dome 2” is optimized for weight and size significantly shrinking down the form factor of the previous prototype while reducing the weight by 200 grams. The device is also shrinking the 140 degree field-of-view of the first design, though the company says the headset will still boast a FoV that’s 20% wider than the Rift.

The headset still utilizes a system that mechanically moves the lenses inside the headset to adjust the focus, but Oculus is also looking further down the line.

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“Half Dome 3” integrated the technology of its previous designs with an electronic varifocal module that has no moving parts and integrates a number of stacked lenses that can be turned on and off to let users move through various planes of focus (the company detailed the headset could switch between 64 planes of focus with this setup). This will enable users to view items in focus at closer distances and will let headsets function more like human eyes.

There weren’t any timelines thrown around for either prototype being productized, but Oculus is clearly investing in the high-end still inside Facebook Reality Labs.


TechCrunch

After a busy year, Facebook’s VR arm is returning to San Jose, Calif. on September 25 and 26 for the sixth annual Oculus Connect.

Oculus has had a transformative year with the release of its Quest and Rift S headsets, turning the high-end gaming company into one more focused on meeting the needs of mainstream consumers. Oculus Connect 6 will give the company an opportunity to hit a stride on content and software optimizations, without the specter of missing hardware features hanging heavy.

“With Quest and Rift S bringing more people into VR than ever before, OC6 is the perfect moment to think bigger, build smarter, and realize the true potential of what we’re creating together,” the company wrote in a short blog post.

For developers, this could be a more contentious meeting as Facebook’s top virtual reality hardware product remains a walled garden with only certain content permitted in the store. Apple has shifting its efforts over the past two years to nabbing top game developers and offering less monetary support to indies that are experimenting in VR for the first time.

In the teaser post, the company is already highlighting that one of the main announcements will be a first-person combat title created by Respawn Entertainment, the maker of Apex Legends.


TechCrunch

Facebook’s Oculus Quest standalone VR headset hasn’t been out long, but VP of AR/VR Andrew Bosworth says the company is already selling a substantial amount of content for the device.

At Vox Media’s Code conference, the exec detailed that in the first two weeks of sales there has been $ 5 million in content sales. We have not gotten any details on device sales, though Facebook has never shares sales data on their VR products.

The $ 399 headset does not require a PC or phone to operate and offers camera-based positional tracking like higher-end PC headsets have in the past. At launch the company’s store had just over 50 titles available to download, with a mixture of free titles and games costing as much as $ 30.

Companies in the VR space — even Facebook — have been reticent to discuss sales because there have been so few success stories. Facebook has gone all-in on the Quest’s launch, their marketing campaigns have been substantial so it makes sense that they’re willing to detail their successes here.


TechCrunch

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