A successor to Oculus’ original virtual reality headset was finally announced this week at the 2019 Game Developers Conference. On Wednesday, March 20, the VR company debuted its newest headset, the Oculus Rift S.
Despite its simple name, the headset is expected to offer a number of new features and improvements including an increase in resolution, improved tracking, and a feature called Passthrough Plus.
As TechCrunch notes, the Rift S offers an increase in resolution but not by much, shifting from 1,080 x 1,200 pixels per eye to 1,280 x 1,440. The Rift S has also pivoted from using an OLED display to LCD panels.
The Rift S also features inside-out tracking and uses five built-in cameras rather than relying on the use of external cameras.
According to The Verge, the Rift S feature called Passthrough Plus allows you “to view the real world around you as you set up your space using Oculus’ Guardian tool (the blue mesh barrier that prevents you from walking into your desk or tripping over a chair).”
Other notable features of the Rift S include a halo-style strap, a lowered frame rate (now 80 Hz), an integrated audio system, and a headphone jack for those who prefer an external audio option. A pair of Oculus Touch controllers will also ship with Rift S. The overall design of the Rift S was also a result of a partnership with Lenovo, as part of an effort to create a more comfortable VR experience.
According to Oculus’ own announcement, the Rift S will also work with the original Rift platform and so customers can expect to have access to games like Asgard’s Wrath, Defector, and Stormland.
While the Oculus Rift S hasn’t been released yet, interested customers can go to the Oculus website to sign up for updates and even download and use a compatibility tool to see if their Windows PC “is VR ready.”
A release date has yet to be announced, but the Rift S is expected to be shipped by spring 2019. Oculus plans to phase out the original Rift headset around the same time. The price of the Rift S, however, will be $399.