The next-generation Rift headset has finally been unveiled by Oculus. The Oculus Rift S is a higher-resolution pair of virtual reality goggles that remove the need for external cameras by incorporating built-in tracking.
This new headset is being developed in partnership with Lenovo. Oculus states that they decided to work with Lenovo in order to speed up manufacturing and to improve upon the design of the original Rift.
The Rift S will be more comfortable, sport a 2560 x 1440 resolution, and feature the same inside-out tracking system that will also be part of the upcoming Oculus Quest VR headset that Oculus announced previously. The inside-out tracking means that you won’t need cumbersome cameras to enable full-body movement.
The Rift S will also be priced on par with the Quest at just $399.
Also included with the headset will be Touch motion controllers and an integrated audio system and the headset includes a headphone jack for external audio.
Every existing and future game on the Rift platform will be playable on the Rift S. The company is also enabling cross-buy as well as cross-play features. So that, if you buy a Quest and then upgrade later to a Rift S, you’ll still have your entire library intact.
One feature that looks to be particularly helpful is the Passthrough Plus which allows you to view the real world around you as you set up your space using the Oculus’ Guardian tool. The Guardian tool is the blue mesh barrier that prevents you from walking into objects set outside of the area you’re playing in. With the inside-out tracking of the headset, you’ll be able to toggle effectively between the Oculus Home launcher and live video feed of your real-life surroundings.
It’s also easier to section off the area you’ve set up for VR, as all you’ll have to do is trace the space with a Touch controller while you’re wearing the headset. This is arguably more convenient than trying to set up the space on your computer while setting up cameras as with the original Rift.
There is no release date yet for the Rift S or its counterpart the Quest, but both are rumored to ship in spring of 2019.
The Rift S features both Oculus and Lenovo branding and includes a new halo-style strap similar to a PlayStation VR headset. The halo strap allows for a more comfortable fit and lets you move the device forward and backward using a knob at the rear of the band. There is also a top strap that makes the device fit snugly on your head and a slider underneath the right side of the headset that is used to bring the physical lenses closer or farther away from your eyes. It will also be possible to adjust pupillary distance through a software setting.
Beyond the higher-resolution display and halo strap, the Rift S also has an additional fifth sensor that’s not found on the Quest. That was included to increase tracking volume to maximize compatibility with the existing Rift content library.
The Rift S is also using the same fast-switch LCD display as the standalone Oculus Go, but will be channeling higher-fidelity visuals because of the high-end gaming PC required to use the Rift S.
When the Rift S launches later this year, Oculus plans to begin phasing out the original Rift headset. So, Rift users should prep themselves to purchase a newer unit.
Two exclusive Oculus Studios games are coming to the Rift S at launch. These two games are not available on the Quest. The first game is Asgard’s Wrath, which is a new combat-focused game set in the world of Norse mythology from Marvel Powers United VR developer Sanzaru Games. The second game is Stormland, a game that puts you into the body of a sentient robot exploring an alien plant. Stormland is developed by Insomniac Games.
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