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Oculus announces new Crescent Bay headset, Unity 5 partnership, and research arm

"As big a leap as from DK1 to DK2" says CEO Brendan Iribe. The new headset has 360 tracking, integrated audio. It also announced its store solution and Unity 5 platform integration.

Crescent Bay

Today at Oculus Connect in Hollywood, the Oculus VR announced a new prototype VR headset codenamed Crescent Bay -- which CEO Brendan Iribe called "as big a leap as from DK1 to DK2," its first two developer kits. The new headset has 360 degree tracking and integrated audio, as well as improved performance that allows better presence, says Iribe. It has higher resolution and a better refresh rate than even its recent DK2 headset. It's also much lighter than earlier prototypes. The company has also licensed technology from RealSpace 3-D for improved 3D audio on Oculus moving forward. Audio is becoming a priority for the company, Iribe said. Thanks to an array of improvements, the headset "allows for sustained presence... this allows you to achieve the impossible and believe you are in a world comfortably," he says. "It's getting much, much closer to consumer Rift."

Oculus Platform

The company also announced its Oculus Platform, the store which developers will use to distribute apps for VR devices. The Platform will be available starting this fall in the mobile-based Samsung Gear VR headset, and will also migrate to PC and smartphone apps later on. It can be accessed directly from inside VR "so that anyone can dive in and explore the Oculus ecosystem from the start" and is designed for "primarily content discovery and acquisition," said Nate Mitchell, Oculus VR's vp of product. The company is also preparing PC web and smartphone versions of the Oculus Platform that can be accessed to purchase VR apps when not using its devices.

Unity Partnership

Mitchell also announced that Oculus Rift will be "an official platform and build target for Unity 5" and that the device will be supported in both free and pro versions of the hardware. Unity has updated its blog with a post by CEO David Helgason to expand this announcement. More info direct from Oculus on these announcements can also be found on its blog.

Oculus Research

Chief scientist Michael Abrash took the stage and announced that a very "well-funded" research team is being put together at Oculus VR called Oculus Research, with the backing of both Oculus VR and Facebook. He described it as "the first well-funded VR research team in 20 years."

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