F8, Facebook’s annual developer conference, kicked off with some exciting news: Oculus Go is available today! Our first standalone headset with 3DOF head tracking is now available for purchase in 23 countries. And alongside a full look at the headset’s tech specs, we provided updates on one of our core platform features, Avatars.
Oculus Go Arrives
With its competitive price point at $199 USD for 32 GB storage ($249 USD for 64 GB storage), the lightweight and portable Oculus Go is an appealing option for people new to VR and a promising platform for developers interested in targeting a broad audience.
We’ve already talked about how Oculus Go runs our Mobile SDK and is binary-compatible with Gear VR for most applications. If you haven’t already, be sure to read our extensive guide to developing for Oculus Go and visit the Developer Center for more details.
Through work with our hardware partner Xiaomi, we packed Oculus Go with specs that boost performance and expression of your apps in entirely new ways:
We’re thrilled to get Oculus Go into people’s hands around the world and see your creations come to life. This is just the beginning—over the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing tons of Oculus Go best practices and tips from fellow developers.
This week, we’ll kick things off with a guest panel for our April Oculus Forum Ask Me Anything (AMA)! Join us May 4 to ask members of the Oculus team about developing for our standalone device, recommendations on how to optimize your app for Oculus Go, and more!
Now Live: Updated Avatars
For developers interested in adding an extra layer of interactivity and presence to social experiences and games, Oculus Avatars are an important building block. Until now, Avatars haven’t always blended well with existing lighting and environments. That changes today with the release of a brand-new look for Avatars.
Originally announced at OC4, the new Avatars offer custom skin shading, hair color, and clothing for more personal expression. You can see these in action in our first-party apps like Venues and Rooms on Mobile, as well as in other apps including Hulu, Drop Dead, Reflex Unit, and Epic Rollercoasters. For even easier customization, people will be able to take advantage of an all-new Avatar Editor, built natively into Mobile and coming soon to Rift via Oculus Home.
Improved Performance and Easier Integration
This new look marks more than just a visual style change: we’ve also built a slew of under-the-hood improvements.
For PC, we’ve added a new physically-based renderer (PBR), so Avatars respond better to environment lighting and integrate more seamlessly with your experiences.
On Mobile, we greatly reduced GPU/CPU overhead for Avatars, bringing it down to one draw call per eye through combined Avatar meshes within the SDK and Unity’s texture array. We’ve also developed a lightweight shader that mimics PC’s PBR shader and captures the desired look and feel of the Avatars, but with significantly less performance overhead.
And we’ve improved developer integrations and tooling to make Avatar deployment even easier, streamlining the testing and development pipeline between PC and Mobile for more consistency and faster results.
Updating your existing Avatars integration is easy. Just download and install next month’s Avatar SDK 1.26 release for Unity—we’ll be releasing to Unreal soon.
Developers who haven’t yet integrated Avatars should review the Avatar SDK to get started.
We’re working hard to make Avatars even more rewarding for developers and the people who use their apps. Soon you’ll be able to contribute custom clothing and accessories that match the theme of your game or experience. We’ll initially roll this out in beta with a limited number of partners as we build out our pipeline and tooling to accommodate third-party Avatar assets.
If you have a social app and are interested in integrating these new platform tools, please get in touch—we’re looking for preview participants to help us test and develop these new tools.
Thanks as always, for being part of this community. We’re excited to build alongside all of you.
— The Oculus Team