Oculus announced its next iteration of Rift this week at GDC, Rift S. While there’s a few key differences about the upcoming hardware specs-wise, it seems the company has also taken a page out of Go’s playbook by including an open-ear integrated audio solution in the headstrap of Rift S. To that end, Oculus says they might bring out a bespoke audio accessory in the future.
Facebook’s head of VR product Nate Mitchell told Road to VR at the headset’s special GDC unveiling that the company was currently exploring the possibility of producing an aftermarket audio solution, something we suppose might work similarly to PSVR’s clip-on Mantis headphones from Bionik.
The company is decidedly taking a step back in terms of high-quality integrated audio with the entrance of Rift S. While we’re not entirely sure why at this point, it’s possible it’s a move to standardize the casual listening experience across their current line of products, which will soon include Oculus Quest this spring in addition to Oculus Go.
As with Quest and Go, you’ll find a pair of integrated speakers on the underside of Rift S’s headstrap. There’s also a 3.5mm audio jack on the left side of the headset itself for users who want to bring their own headphones or earbuds.
In the end, plugging in a pair of headphone or earbuds may be somewhat inelegant for people who’ve used the original Rift though, as having a built-in over-ear headphone that partially blocks out noise (and at an acceptably high volume) is something of a convenience factor.
In that token, third-party manufacturers would be able to make their own aftermarket audio add-ons too; it all just depends on how much demand there is from new Rift S owners, something Oculus (or the market) will probably figure out when the headset launches this spring.