Oculus starts off its announcement by confirming that the Rift S will use the Oculus platform - hardly a surprise, but it does mean that it'll have an extensive library of games and apps on launch day.
The headset is named the S rather than the Oculus Rift 2 because while it is an across the board improvement, it's not a fundamental shift in the technology.
I spent some time with the Oculus Rift S playing viking action game Asgard's Wrath as well as the colorful and quirky Vacation Simulator, and the experience was great - if not a bit familiar. In the blog post announcing the new headset, Facebook says Rift owners will be able to take advantage of continued software updates.
"This is out-of-the-box room scale", Oculus co-founder Nate Mitchell said as he gestured to the Oculus Rift S, the new PC-focused VR headset launching "this spring" for $399. In addition to the five tracking sensors built-into the HMD the Oculus Touch controllers have been redesigned for inside-out tracking, "bring familiar hand presence and input so you can grab, point, and gesture through the best of VR". As a comparison, the display on the original Rift headset has a resolution of 1080 x 1200 per eye.
Users can benefit from a single-cable system for a clutter free experience with Oculus Rift S. Additionally there's a headphone jack so you can use your own favourite headphones with the Rift S. The display panel offers a resolution of 2560x1440 (1280x1440 per eye) with a refresh rate of 80Hz. It also has a more rudimentary controller. Not only is comfort up, but there is additional light blocking and better weight distribution for the headset.
Oculus is promising a feature called Passthrough Plus, that will allow gamers to see the world around them in black-and-white without removing their headsets at all.
By using inside-out tracking method which the company referred to as the Oculus Insight, there is no need for external sensors as opposed to the original Rift headset. The headset delivers integrated audio from its headband, ditching the onboard headphones from the previous generation.