Facebook-owned Oculus kicks off third developer conference

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook-owned Oculus is gathering its virtual reality game developers for the company's third-annual Connect conference, Wednesday through Friday at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center.

The focal point is expected to be Oculus Touch, two hand-held controllers — price and release date to come — that promise to greatly enhance the interactive elements of the company's Oculus Rift goggles ($600, but closer to $2,000 with the necessary high-powered computer to which it is tethered).

At present, Oculus' main competition is the $800 HTC Vive, but next week marks the release of another challenger, Sony's $399 Playstation VR, which works in conjunction with its eponymous gaming console. What's more, all these pricey, tethered goggles are facing mounting pressure from comparatively inexpensive smartphone-based VR products, including the recently announced Google Daydream goggles ($79) that initially will interact only with the Alphabet company's two new Pixel phones.

Oculus has more lately been in the news for headlines made by its founder, 24-year-old Palmer Luckey, who admitted to donating money to a group aiming to design online smear campaigns against Hillary Clinton.

Follow USA TODAY tech reporter  Marco della Cava @marcodellacava.


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