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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduces the new Oculus Quest. (Screenshot Via Facebook Livestream)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed the company’s next big virtual reality release, the $399 Oculus Quest.

Oculus Quest is the realization of the long-anticipated “Project Santa Cruz,” and according to Zuckerberg, the bookend of the first generation of Oculus virtual reality headsets. Shipping in the spring, the device combines some of the experiences and hardware of the flagship Oculus Rift, such as the Oculus Touch controllers, and the standalone nature of the Oculus Go.

At the Oculus Connect conference in San Jose, Calif. Wednesday, Zuckerberg said Quest combines three major elements that Facebook wants to see in all its virtual reality headsets going forward: Standalone freedom from a PC or smartphone, support of hand movements with controllers, and allowing six degrees of freedom so people can walk around, not just look around.

“This is it, this is the all-in-one virtual reality experience we have been waiting for,” Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg reiterated the goal that Facebook wants to get 1 billion people into VR/AR. Kicking off the conference, Zuckerberg acknowledged the company has a long way to go on that front.

To accomplish the goal, Facebook and Oculus have begun to blur recently. Oculus’ research group became Facebook Reality Labs earlier this year, showing the importance of AR/VR to the future of the overall company.

A lot of this research and development is being done in the Seattle area. Oculus has been on a hiring spree in the region for more than a year.

The number of open positions continues to grow, and it is now at more than 150 just in Microsoft’s backyard of Redmond, Wash. That outpaces all other Oculus offices, even the headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.

To house all those hires, Oculus has been gobbling up space, primarily in Redmond. Facebook has never publicly detailed the size of Oculus’ footprint in Redmond, but GeekWire research pegs the size of the campus anywhere from about 350,000 square feet to more than 700,000 square feet. And it could soon be even bigger.

An analysis of construction permits in July turned up a total value of more than $106.1 million for Oculus-related projects in Redmond dating back to 2015. A flurry of permits valued at $88.3 million have been filed just this year, showing how quickly Oculus has ramped up its expansion.

The Oculus Connect keynote is streaming online here:

The Oculus Connect 5 Keynote

Watch live as we announce the future of virtual reality at the Oculus Connect developer’s conference.

Posted by Oculus on Wednesday, September 26, 2018

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