Oculus VR’s next-generation Rift headset may be called the “Rift S,” according to Upload VR, which says it’s found new filenames in Oculus’ PC application that support the naming scheme. Additionally, Upload VR reports that setting options in a new version of the user interface code suggest that the device will have cameras built-in, which would mean users don’t need to use external cameras for tracking, as is the case with the current Rift.
This all supports a TechCrunch report from November of last year that first surfaced the Rift S name and the idea that the next Rift will have what’s known as inside-out tracking. That means it may have a system of cameras and sensors that let the VR headset position itself and your body in 3D space, instead of requiring external accessories to do so. A number of upcoming VR products use inside-out tracking primarily because it removes the need for those pricey accessories and because it opens up the possibility for wireless play or, at the very least, improved portability of the headset, so you could more easily take it to a friend’s house or on the road with you.
A higher-resolution companion to Oculus Quest, without needing external cameras
That’s not to say that the Rift S, or whatever it ends up being called, will be wireless. Like the Vive Cosmos, HTC’s new headset that promises to add inside-out tracking, you’d still likely need to tether the device to a PC for external processing. TechCrunch also reported last year that the new Rift would have improved resolution, something Oculus couldn’t achieve with an internal processing unit. But HTC does offer a wireless adapter for its Vive and Vive Pro headsets, and it’s possible Oculus could do the same. For the true wireless Oculus experience, you’ll have to buy either its lower-end Oculus Go headset or the upcoming Oculus Quest.
So it looks like the Rift S might be positioned as a less cumbersome, high-quality VR headset for PC users, in that in it won’t be wireless without maybe an adapter of some sort and that it will still require you have a VR-ready gaming Windows machine to power it. The difference will be that you don’t need to set up those annoying cameras to get full, room-scale VR because the headset will do on the tracking itself. As Upload VR notes, developing the Rift S to be a higher-resolution companion to the Oculus Quest could make app development easier across the whole platform, letting developers making one version of software that works on both headsets, with the possibility of downscaling the app for the Go if possible.
In a statement, an Oculus spokesperson said, “We don’t comment on future products, but are excited about the year ahead.”
Update 2/5, 8:21PM ET: Added statement from Oculus.