March 21, 2019
Oculus unveiled a new version of its Rift VR headset at GDC 2019 yesterday. The $399 Rift S, available this spring, will feature a new design, higher resolution display (up to 1280×1440 per eye), two updated Oculus Touch controllers, and embedded sensors for tracking (rather than cameras). The current $349 Rift relies on an array of external webcams to sense the environment. The new Rift S will require a PC in order to power its high-res graphics, while the wireless Oculus Quest, also available this spring for $399 will not need additional power.
Facebook, which purchased Oculus VR in 2014, envisions VR as the next step in communication and much more than just gaming.
According to Bloomberg, “The social-media company anticipates that people will use VR to do more than play games — it has created virtual spaces for users to hang out and watch movies together, for example.”
The Rift S “plays the same games as the original Rift,” but brings “embedded sensors instead of external cameras for tracking,” notes Bloomberg. “Oculus said the Rift S was co-designed by Lenovo Group Ltd., which has sold its own VR headsets in the past.”
The Oculus Rift S will include a pair of “updated Oculus Touch controllers (one for each hand), a single cable that connects to a PC (1 x DisplayPort, 1 x USB 3.0), and zero external cameras,” Ars Technica explains in its largely positive hands-on review. “Instead, like the previously announced Oculus Quest, the Oculus Rift S will have built-in cameras that combine infrared and RGB sensors to map your room — and function whether you stand, sit, kneel, or twirl.”