Today at GDC 2019, Oculus VR announced the next version of its flagship virtual reality headset, the Oculus Rift S. The new headset is fully compatible with current Rift platform games and features a number of spec and design upgrades.
Instead of the dual screens in the original Rift, which added up to a total resolution of 2160×1200, the Rift S uses a single 2560×1440 screen. At the same time, it switches from OLED screens of the original to LED, leading to a slightly lower refresh rate of 80Hz. There's also new lenses, which should help with the problem of "god rays" in the original Rift. These were additional visual halos around text and objects.
Also gone are the additional sensors the original Rift used for tracking. Instead, the Oculus Rift S uses Oculus Insight, a new inside-out tracking technology that's also being used for the Oculus Quest. The Rift S uses five onboard cameras—two on the front, one on either side, and one of the top—to track its position in real-time. The Oculus Touch controllers for the Rift S have been redesigned as well, with a shifted tracking ring allow both controllers to be seen by the headset. The Rift S isn't compatible with the original Touch controllers.
The old Rift featured integrated headphones that slide into place over your ears. The Rift S pulls its audio system from the Oculus Quest and Oculus Go, piping sound through the side straps. It does include a 3.5mm jack so you can use your own headphones though.
The headset strap is no longer a soft canvas. Oculus VR worked with Lenovo to design the new strap, which resembles that of the PlayStation VR headset. It's much easier to put on and take off and offers better distribution of overall weight. The similarities in design are probably related to Lenovo's licensing of the PSVR industrial design last year. Finally, there's a new passthrough viewing system called Passthrough+, which uses the cameras to provide a view of what's going on outside of the VR space, without taking off the headset.
The Rift S is not a standalone headset like the Oculus Quest or Oculus Go and will still require you to connect to a PC via USB and DisplayPort. The Oculus Rift S will cost $399, with a planned launch this Spring.