Our "Facebookening of Oculus" series continues today with the announcement of the Facebook Connect conference as a free, live-streamed event on September 16. You may remember years [arstechnica.com] of "Oculus Connect" conferences [arstechnica.com], which focused on the company's efforts in virtual reality and other "mixed reality" mediums. That conference is dead. It's Facebook Connect now.
What's more, Facebook used the Tuesday announcement as an opportunity to rename its entire Oculus VR division: Facebook Reality Labs [facebook.com]. That name may sound familiar, since it was given to a number of skunkworks teams working on experimental VR-like features and hardware (including years of focus on 3D spatial audio at its Seattle-area office).
Facebook isn't shy about explaining why it is renaming everything: to collate and combine its disparate entities in order to "build the next computing platform to help people feel more present with each other, even when we’re apart." That sure sounds like a bold admission of the so-called "Facebook operating system" that I keep hearing rumors about, with VR, mixed reality, and smartphone cameras at its core. Facebook has spent months hinting at mixed computing systems being combined in the workplace, which the company has conveniently summarized in a new Facebook Reality Labs post [fb.com] from today.
Oculus to Begin Requiring Facebook Accounts to Use VR Headsets [soylentnews.org]