Facebook Connect, previously known as Oculus Connect, is the social networking giant’s annual virtual reality developer conference. It’s usually a huge in-person event for VR developers, but with the ongoing pandemic, Facebook has confirmed that Facebook Connect 2021 will be an entirely virtual experience once again, with no in-person element this year.
Historically, the yearly conference has been focused on virtual reality, but since Facebook's rebrand, the focus has broadened to encapsulate both virtual and augmented reality. The conference serves as a stage for Facebook to reveal new technologies in the AR and VR space, and to reveal what it has been working on for the past year.
With an increasing focus on what Mark Zuckerberg calls the 'metaverse', and with leaked imagery showcasing a yet-unannounced headset that some have unofficially dubbed the Oculus Quest 2 Pro, it's set to be an interesting keynote.
Here’s all you need to know about Facebook Connect 2021, including timings, how to watch online and what to expect from this year’s keynote.
When is Facebook Connect 2021?
Facebook Connect is set to kick off later today and will exclusively be streamed online. The opening keynote - the part of the conference most people are interested in - is set to kick today, 28 October 2021, at 6pm BST (10am PT / 1pm EDT).
How can I watch Facebook Connect 2021?
If you've got an Oculus headset, you've got the option of watching the entire opening keynote in VR. Simply head to the Oculus site to register, don your headset later today, open Oculus Venues and get comfortable.
What should I expect from Facebook Connect 2021?
As with any tech conference, there’s set to be an opening keynote, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is set to discuss his vision for the so-called "Metaverse" - a term he has teased a lot in recent interviews.
Oculus Consulting CTO John Carmack is also expected to take to the stage to provide an overview of Facebook's recent accomplishments in the VR and AR space.
It’s likely that the Facebook Connect 2021 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 possibly the Facebook Portal ecosystem too.
The biggest rumoured announcement, however, is set to be the Oculus Quest 2 Pro. The Oculus Quest 2 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 a more powerful - and more capable - Pro variant of the standalone headset.
Leaked tutorial videos seem to showcase a yet-unannounced virtual reality headset seemingly capable of not only face- and eye-tracking, but full-body tracking. It looks quite different to the Quest 2 too, sporting an all-black design in a design not too dissimilar to that of Ski goggles.
Quest Pro / Seacliff [thread]— Bastian :D (@Basti564) October 24, 2021
found by Samulia in the Seacliff firmware pic.twitter.com/0pGODx2HCp
It also looks like new Oculus Touch controllers could be in the works, also making an appearance in a separate leaked video on what seems to be a wireless charging mat. While the general design looks familiar, it ditches the O-ring present on most VR controllers right now, suggesting Facebook has developed a new inside-out tracking system for the new Touch controllers.
We cover all the latest Oculus Quest 2 Pro rumours in detail separately if you want to find out more.
For more on VR, take a look at the best VR headsets.