Facebook Connect is the new name for the social networking giant’s annual virtual reality developer conference, which for the past seven years has been called Oculus Connect. It’s usually a huge in-person event for VR developers, but with the ongoing pandemic, Facebook has confirmed that Facebook Connect will be an entirely virtual experience with no in-person element this year.
Historically, the yearly conference has been focused on virtual reality, but Facebook has confirmed that this year’s event will focus on both virtual and augmented reality. The company recently announced Facebook Reality Labs, a new umbrella unit that covers Facebook’s various AR and VR efforts, will be the headline of Connect 2020, so it’s safe to assume that it’ll be an interesting event.
Despite the fact that Facebook bought Oculus back in 2014 for $2 billion, the social networking giant has largely avoided integrating Oculus within Facebook, but the rebranding – and the fact you’ll need a Facebook login to use Oculus headsets soon – suggests the two firms are set to get closer than ever before.
Here’s all you need to know about Facebook Connect 2020, including timings, how to watch online and what to expect from this year’s opening keynote.
When is Facebook Connect 2020?
Facebook Connect is set to kick off today and will exclusively be streamed online. The opening keynote - the part of the conference most people are interested in - is set to kick off today, 16 September 2020 at 6pm BST (10am PT).
How can I watch Facebook Connect 2020?
The opening keynote stream will be available via the Facebook Connect website and via Facebook too. The only question is, with the rebrand to Facebook Connect 2020, will the stream be hosted on the Facebook or Oculus pages?
If you've got an Oculus headset, you've got the option of watching the entire opening keynote in VR. Simply pop your headset on later today, open Oculus Venues and get comfortable.
What should I expect from Facebook Connect 2020?
Facebook has confirmed that the conference will be comprised of over 15 sessions with more than 35 speakers, with all confirmed session topics and speakers available on the Facebook Connect site.
As with any tech conference, there’s set to be an opening keynote, and both Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Oculus’ Michael Abrash are expected to make an appearance despite the fact only Mike Howards and Jewel Lim are listed on the Facebook Connect schedule.
It’s likely that the Facebook Connect 2020 keynote will focus on news from the Facebook Reality Labs umbrella, which consists of Oculus (both the headsets and games), Spark AR, Facebook's phone-based AR system and the Facebook Portal ecosystem too. As mentioned above, with Facebook Horizon going into open beta, it’s likely that we’ll get an update on Facebook’s virtual social space too.
The biggest rumoured announcement, however, is set to be the Oculus Quest 2. The Oculus Quest is undoubtedly one of the most popular VR headsets available right now, providing something akin to PC-level VR without the need for a PC or wires, and we imagine Facebook is keen to keep that momentum going with the Oculus Quest 2.
Rumours suggest it’ll be a refinement rather than a redesign, with leaked marketing materials showcasing a similar-looking headset, although it could be available in white this time around. Other rumours include a reduction in weight and overall bulk, more powerful internals and enhanced Oculus Touch controllers too. We cover all the latest Oculus Quest 2 rumours in detail separately if you want to find out more.
For more on VR, take a look at the best VR headsets.