Oculus Boosting Customization, Adding Hybrid Apps

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Oculus Connect is always full of surprises, but one thing has remained constant about the company's annual VR conference — the commitment to refining tools for both developers and regular folks like you and me. Oulus Connect 5 is no different, as Oculus announced a new Rift platform rollout. Available today (Sept. 26), the platform comes complete with a new set of tools focused on customization, social and discovery.

After introducing real customization for Oculus Home navigation last year, Oculus will now let developers push the envelope even further. The company announced custom developer items, which allows players to get custom virtual tchotkes to display in their customizable Oculus Home from their favorite VR titles. Oculus is bringing cross-platform support for its Avatar SDK, so devs can take their custom creations to whatever platform they want to create on.

MORE: What Is Oculus Rift?

Expressive Avatars are also launching later this year, focusing on on eye and mouth movement and subtle facial expression. The latest creation of Oculus avatars will removed the headset so wearers can feel like they're really interacting with friends, complete with eye contact.

And at long last, the wall between PC and mobile VR users is coming down. Instead of having to run to your desktop or laptop to download or browse your Oculus Rift library, you can now do that and much more on your phone. Now Rift users can browse the store, discover events and most importantly remotely install content — something that I plan to try out after today's keynote.

Hybrid Apps are another feature you can look forward to. No word on when we'll have the opportunity to experience for ourselves, but the feature essentially allows you to use 2D applications in 3D space. During a demo from Allegorithmic labs, we saw Toby the Robot from the Oculus start-up game being created in Substance Painter. From there, the creator picked up a Rift and started manipulating their work in VR.

All in all, the future seems bright for both mainstream users and VR developers.