Oculus founder Palmer Luckey, who left the company back in 2017, says that the lack of hardware-adjustable IPD (distance between lenses) on the Rift S means he won’t be able to comfortably use the headset, and says that it will be a great headset but only for about 70% of the population which are comfortably covered by the headset’s IPD range.

While the upcoming Rift S is in many ways a better, easier to use Rift, it does make a few tradeoffs which seem like a step back from the original. One of those tradeoffs is the lack of a hardware-adjustable IPD, which means that anyone with an IPD different than the headsets nominal setting won’t be able to move the lenses into ideal alignment.

Unlike the original Oculus Rift and Oculus Quest, Rift S and Oculus Go don’t have hardware-IPD adjustments. | Photo by Road to VR

While the Rift S will support a software IPD adjustment, which moves the rendered images to the proper width, this only improves comfort and scale, but can’t fix any of the optical issues which come with being out of alignment with the optical center.

Oculus founder Palmer Luckey, who left the company back in 2017, took to his personal blog today to say that his own 70mm IPD is too far away from the headset’s nominal IPD setting to use it comfortably. Based on IPD data published in the Proceedings of SPIE journal, Luckey figures that the Rift S IPD will only be suitable for around 70% of the population.

Rift S is very cool! It takes concepts that have been around for years and puts them into a fully functional product for the first time. Sure, sure, I see people complaining about how Rift S is worse than CV1 concerning audio quality, display characteristics, and ergonomics – some of the tradeoffs are real, some are imaginary, and people should really wait for it to come out before passing final judgement. All in all, it is going to be a great HMD.

For about 70% of the population.

He notes that the original Rift was designed to support any IPD between the 5th and 95th percentile, covering the vast majority of the population with a hardware-adjustable range from 58mm to 72mm.

When the user’s IPD doesn’t fit into the ‘sweet spot’ of the lenses, a lot can go wrong.

“Imagery is hard to fuse, details are blurry, distortion is wrong, mismatched pupil swim screws up [Vestibulo–Ocular reflex], and everything is at the wrong scale,” Luckey says.

A software IPD adjustment helps, but not much, he adds.

“‘Software IPD adjustment’ can solve [scale], but not much else—it adjusts a single variable that happens to be related to IPD, but is not comparable in any way to an actual IPD adjustment mechanism.”

Road to VR has reached out to Oculus for comment on Luckey’s claims, and is awaiting confirmation on the recommended IPD ranges for each of the company’s headsets.

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  • dk
  • Jan Ciger

    The problem is not even the IPD adjustment. The lack of it sucks but an even bigger elephant in the room is the lack of any dioptric correction.

    That makes most of the current HMDs very difficult to use for me because wearing glasses under them is almost impossible and contact lenses aren’t an option for me. In the best case I get my glasses squashed against my face, I am risking the lenses getting scratched and I lose a lot of the FOV. The other option is to “wing it” without glasses (fortunately I don’t need that heavy correction, unlike many others) – getting a terrible eye strain and fatigue after a while.

    I do wonder when are we going to stop creating one-size-fits-all gadgets that don’t work/fit properly for most of the population that doesn’t happen to be young, have 20/20 vision and neatly mean-sized head/face.

    And it isn’t only HMDs – e.g. I have attended Laval Virtual last week and had to refrain from trying many things. If I have tried to put on some of the data gloves which were shown there, I would have likely destroyed them (my hands are decidedly larger than the hands of a girl model …)

    • James Cobalt

      I recently got some 3d printed lens-holders and cheap lenses from Zenni and wow what a difference. So much easier than dealing with contacts just for when I want to use a headset. It is bizarre though why there’s no adjustment in any of the high end VR headsets for farsightedness or nearsightedness. Perhaps it has something to do with complications of FOV and needing dynamic lens distortion profiles?

      • mellott124

        Because people misadjust them and get headaches and then say VR sucks. You can also have latent effects of focus misadjustment. Military has a long history of studying this. The last HMD I remember having focus adjustment was the Cybermaxx from the 90s. VFX1 I believe as well.

        • James Cobalt

          Don’t people say the same thing when their IPD setting doesn’t match? I feel like there’s a stupid easy software fix for all that – and that is, when a headset is put on, the screen very briefly flashes a reminder to set your IPD and focal distance.

        • Marcus

          2016: Razer HDK2

          diopters cover +4.5 to -2 adjustments

          • mellott124

            That’s right. I do remember that one. Have it in the closet.

      • HybridEnergy

        How did you get Zenni to cut the lenses for you to fit the exact diameter of the lens holders? I’m interested , anyway to show me what you’ve done exactly ? I hate wearing glasses in VR, so much I debated lasik surgery. If I could get some clipped in lenses in my Vive Pro that would be awesome.

        • James Cobalt

          You can find 3D printer files for almost any VR headset for accepting lenses from these cheapo Zenni frames: https://www.zennioptical.com/p/metal-alloy-full-rim-frame-with-spring-hinges/5500?skuId=550021

          Just unscrew the hinges and the lenses pop right out. If you have an astigmatism the lens orientation matters so mark the bottom of the lens with a dry erase marker or something before removing them from the frames.

          Enter your prescription info, add your preferred coatings and blue light protection if you’d like (won’t make noticeable color differences), and set the IPD to 66 to put the “sweet spot” in the dead center of these lenses. This assumes your headset has hardware IPD adjustment so you can set your IPD with the headset. If your IPD is outside what the headset can support, or if you only have software IPD, then you’d need to do some measuring and math to figure out the offset between your prescription’s IPD, these lenses, and their fixed placement in the headset and… that’s just making my head hurt.

          Also note (as I learned this from a good friend who learned a harder way) when gluing your 3D printed frame files together, regardless of what the adhesive instructions say, give it a solid 20+ hours before using. The heat from the headset could result in glue breaking down and getting on your eyeglass lenses and headset lenses. Superglue is made of polymers – just like your headset lenses and possibly eyeglass lenses. The only way to remove the glue polymer is with polish that ALSO removes some of your polymer-based lenses… and the expensive coatings applied to them. Not worth the risk. Be patient!

    • Guygasm

      Rift S has adjustable eye relief (similar to PSVR) This will allow glasses to be worn much easier. Trade-off is a reduction in FOV and possibly exacerbating limits in extreme IPDs.

      Custom/multi-size options will come once the market is large/profitable enough to support the extra overhead cost.

    • Hmmm, I don’t have a heavy prescription either and my glasses fit just fine under the headset. Possibly you have yours too tight. ( I don’t have a small head, so that isn’t part of my success)
      And there are other options for glasses you might try, some sit closer to your face and may become your gaming glasses.

    • HybridEnergy

      I wear glasses and the VIVE products have been awesome, but the WMR headset I have is a PITA to wear. Really, proper eye corrected inserts with prescriptions should have been a bigger thing already with no warping or anything.

  • impurekind

    It’s weird because I can set the current Rift to any IPD setting, from one extreme all the way to the other, and I’m still able to use it. It just takes my eyes a second to adjust to whatever setting it’s at. And, yes, there’s obviously a setting that seems “optimal” but it’s not like I can’t use the headset if someone accidentally knocks the IPD to a different setting from what I’m used to. Also, I’ve used plenty of Vr headsets in the past that had a fixed IPD and have similarly had no obvious issues. So I’m not entirely convinced the problem will be quite as big as some people imagine.

    • pugac

      That’s just your confirmation bias. I don’t imagine the eye strain or headaches. You should be happy for having greater tolerance than me. Congratulations.

      Plus I am slightly asymmetrical, eg. my left IPD is 1mm less then the right. Nobody is completely symmetrical. I doubt they put that into consideration either.

      No way I would buy this.

      • daveinpublic

        Is it confirmation bias if he’s tried using it in multiple configurations? I can see confirmation bias being the accusation if he’d tried a random setting and assumed it worked for other the same as for him, but if he’s tried different settings and simulated incorrect IPD adjustment, than it’s actually the opposite of confirmation bias.

        • pugac

          Doesn’t matter how many configurations he used if he’s evaluating just himself to prove what he (maybe) believed from the start.

          I mean I believe he’s fine… that doesn’t mean others are too. Actually I would really be interested in some hard fact statistics about how large parts of population have health/comfort problems with VR and with what exactly… haven’t seen any so far…

    • romannepinsk

      impurekind: I have similar experience on Rift (optimal IPD for me is all the way stretched, but I can still play even if my kids left it at the narrowest). But on Go (with fixed IPD) I have strong blurred edges. :-/ When I close one eye and move the headset, I can confirm wider IPD would help sharpen the image. Looking forward to Focus to fix this. Not sure about Rift S though, if it will be the same as on the Go, it would be bad for me.

    • Baldrickk

      My guess is that you are near the middle of the range, so there is a limit as to how far away from your actual IPD you can get. Maybe it really is close enough that you can kind of adjust.
      I have a google Cardboard. I can “kind of adjust” to it (The lenses are far, far too close together) but all that really means is that I’m looking at it cross-eyed, and after a while, I really start getting eye-strain.

    • Sven Viking

      Keep in mind that testing with wrong IPD settings in Rift is effectively the same as testing a range of IPDs in a fixed-IPD headset. The entire supported range of a fixed-IPD headset is “wrong” to various degrees apart from the perfect average, but still usable, just as incorrect IPD settings are usable in Rift.

      The officially supported IPD range of a fixed-IPD headset is just describing the minimum and maximum beyond which it is no longer considered usable.

    • Hivemind9000

      Yep, if everything is ok for you then it must be for the rest of the world. We’re all exactly the same after all.

      Btw I can’t tell the difference between IPD settings on my Vive, but then I’m a superhuman freak of nature.

    • crim3

      My IPD is 59mm and I can use the Lenovo Explorer wihout issues, apparently.

    • zeef

      Same here, on my Vive I’ve never been able to effectively tell how this affects me. I see the lenses moving in the headset as I turn the dial, but when I adjust while playing, it makes no difference to me.

      I think its just tolerance, or maybe I don’t know what to look for…

      What should I look for to know that I’m in the right spot…besides measuring? Or, probably better, what would I see if I’m in the WRONG spot? Focus? Glare? Fresnel issues?

      • impurekind

        I think all you’re supposed to notice is a slight difference in the clarity of the image, so going out of your range would create a small amount of double vision. And I do get that at the extremes, but my eyes seems to quickly adjust for the most part.

    • Frank Oldale

      if you have an average IPD then you wont see a difference. If I don’t adjust on my Rift (IPD of 58) everything is blurry and my eyes strain to see. If you are 63 to 65 the adjustment really doesn’t do anything. Believe me if you are on the low end or high end its huge!

      • impurekind

        Then I feel bad for anyone on the extremes.

  • 3872Orcs

    Yeah! I don’t understand this decision at all. 30% (if not more) is just too big a number of people who will experience discomfort. This is not helpful to grow the VR market. The Oculus brand should be synonymous with quality and comfort at a reasonable price. This is just not good! I’ll have problems using it with my IPD at 60 and my best friend is 71.

    Oh well… at least the Quest has hardware IPD adjustment.

    • Rosko

      Mine is 59 I guess thats me out then?

      • Baldrickk

        You’re probably fine. From what I’ve read, it seems to affect those on the higher end of the scale more than the bottom. You’re also closer to the mean than Luckey

    • crim3

      They thought that using a single display but, in consequence, not having IPD adjustment was worth the trade off.

      • AndroidVageta

        Worth the financial trade off…nothing here was done for the betterment of the consumer, just shareholders.

  • Evil Unicorn1

    still waiting for lenses to be automatically adjusted (IPD, dioptrics) by analyzing eye strain with eye-tracking cameras

    • benz145

      Having seen a lot of eye-tracking tech recently, eye-tracking should be coming in the next generation of headsets. Even if the adjustment isn’t automatic, it’s easy enough to automatically measure the IPD and tell the user when it is not set optimally.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Yep, THAT’s where eye-tracking comes in handy.. Because it’s one of the things people seem to forget when they put on a HDM, adjusting the headset correctly to their eye’s..

  • Kevin White

    They should have gone with the Odyssey / Vive Pro split OLED screens.

    • MosBen

      Does the Quest have hardware IPD?

      • Kevin White

        Yep.

        In fact I think the Quest uses the same screens as the Odyssey and Vive Pro, just with different lenses and at 72 Hz instead of 90 Hz.

        https://www.roadtovr.com/oculus-rift-s-vs-quest-specs-difference/

        • MosBen

          That’s what I remembered, which makes this all the stranger. They’re already buying panels for the Quest. It just seemed to make a ton of sense that they’d try to save money by using the same components for the Rift S.

          • kontis

            Quest will be a more expensive headset to manufacture, but both will be priced identically.

            Facebook desperately wants their consumer to migrate to a platform they can control 100% instead of relying on Microsoft’s Windows PC with Steam.

          • MosBen

            I mean, sure. I’m sure that Oculus is motivated to make their mobile platform succeed, but it seems like using mostly the same parts for the Quest and S would just make the S cheaper to manufacture, but wouldn’t have any affect on what retail price they chose. They could still sell the S for $400 if they used the screens in the Quest and allowed for hardware IPD adjustment. It’s not like there’s a huge number of people that would definitely have picked up the S over the Quest, but will now pick up the Quest instead due to the IPD adjustment.

          • This decision might actually have had something to do with Carmack. He made a statement on Twitter a while back saying had they known how good the Go display system was going to work out, they might have used it on Quest too, but it was too far along in it’s design process to change course.The loss of proper IPD is a real punch in the gut though. The Rift had a small laundry list of premium feeling features that have been cast to the wayside with Rift S. It doesn’t seem like a good move for the Oculus brand as a whole, but what do I know.

          • MosBen

            The IPD adjustment really is the one thing about the S that has left me scratching my head and feeling like it is a downgrade. I’m not upset about things like the slight reduction in refresh rate, since it doesn’t seem to be really noticeable, but this one does seem like a real issue. And the whole thing is ending up weighing more than the original Rift, so it doesn’t seem to be a weight-saving measure. Truly weird.

          • I’m at a weird place with the S because technically I think it is likely a better overall headset than Rift. The tracking should be just fine, the audio should be just fine, the weight should be just fine, even the IPD issue while sucky is going to be just fine for a vast majority of people.
            It’s just that the Rift never felt like a ‘just fine’ kind of product to me. It felt like a flagship headset setting the bar for everyone else.
            S feels run of the mill in a way that I’m surprised to see from Oculus.
            Hopefully this is just a crutch they need to get to a proper CV2 and not a total change is direction for their product lines moving forward.

          • MosBen

            See, it feels to me a lot like a console refresh. I had an Xbox One, but while the Xbox One S had a couple features that made it technically superior to the original, it really wasn’t enough of an improvement that anyone who already had an original should feel compelled to upgrade. And I certainly wasn’t disappointed in MS for doing it. Hardware refreshes make sense from a manufacturers’s perspective, and someone buying for the first time gets a machine that usually has all of the kinks worked out, even if the existing users don’t have anything to get excited about.

            I do think that the hardcore crowd is going to be disappointed with Oculus going forward. I do not think that Oculus has any interest in producing a product that targets high end users going forward, preferring to put out HMDs that will be affordable and, for tethered products, run on most PCs. We’re not going to see them putting out products that require $1,000+ PCs anymore.

            That said, I do expect them to release a CV2 which will be much more obviously a second generation unit compared to the S. I’m sure that, as with Half Dome, they target less ambitious improvements like 140 degree FOF, and I’m more or less ok with that, though it does leave some room for some other player to swoop in and get my attention for the next generation.

          • Sven Viking

            Yeah, with modern LCD displays and PenTile OLED each have some pros and cons for VR (SDE and clarity vs colours and contrast mostly, plus LCD is cheaper). Losing IPD adjustment is a major issue for anyone not close to the average though.

  • eckehard

    If the really want money – they change the IPD-Situation – it could not be unimpossible to make the eye distance manuell adjustible . I think that is the heaviest point for not selling

    • Arashi

      The problem is that they’re using a single panel

    • Andrew Jakobs

      they can’t change the design of the S anymore, they are already in production. And making is manually adjustable means you’ll need 2 displays..

  • Get Schwifty!

    Very, very strange decision making right now at Oculus on this, which has otherwise been pretty solid…..

    • gothicvillas

      Oculus is leaving PC VR that’s what happening

  • Jack Liddon

    Race to the bottom, as Iribe said when he bailed. Oculus Quest seems to be the thing they’re really interested in selling. This Rift S is just a Windows MR headset with slightly improved controller tracking.

    I use Rift mainly for Oculus Medium sculpting. I’m curious how well this new headset works with that. When I sculpt, the controllers get pretty close to my face and I worry about the tracking getting wonky. Hopefully all this gets worked before release.

  • Baldrickk

    “software IPD adjustment, … can’t fix any of the
    optical issues which come with being out of alignment with the optical
    center”.
    So even if you are in the range, unless it lines up just right, you still get a substandard image?
    Urgh.

    • crim3

      The software IPD adjustment is a permanent source of confussion for consumers.

  • bud01

    Why not sell a range of VR products which customers can fit together like lego Palmer?

    I was thinking how cool it would be to put together the parts of the headset I want how I want it,

    Want with external tracking… get that.
    Want with inside out tracking get that.
    Happy with 110FOV.. get that panel those lens..
    Want 200FOV, get that base foundation part…

    Want eye tracking..

    You get the idea…

    Also just to ask the obvious question and not passing jugement about the whole external vs inside out tracking..

    If inside out tracking is so important why didnt we go with this from the start.. Because of this the VR community is having to take a half step back, so like a tick back (tick tock).

    I just put my pimax 5k in its box after using it for 20mins and not being satisified enough and was looking to another vendor to superseed and really deliver….

    Rift S is a retardation of the VR movement, its some thing that should be in the work shop and lab only.

    ill buy one regardless and will test it out … but man.. this is the following on product to the master piece cv1? What are the current up and running community meant to think about this>? Your basically being stupid on our time is what it is.

    150deg FOV would be nice you know… we are heading into 2020 in a few months already. Every body knows what they want.. .

    I am still overly pleased with my cv1 so i cant complain too much.

  • Jerald Doerr

    WTF! I’m just disappointed with everything VR right now… I was really hoping someone would save the day but its all more and more junk! I never thought I’d live in a second VR depression but I’m really starting to lose hope….

    • AndroidVageta

      Yeah it’s kind of screwy isn’t it? It’s like all these new headsets are taking one step forward but two steps back.

    • Frank Oldale

      I am with you. I keep hearing how exciting 2019 is for VR as there are so many headsets coming on the market but they all fall short. Oculus isn’t even putting out a product for many of their rift users there just isn’t a solution even if they wanted to stay at Rift level quality!

  • Luke

    did Palmer tested the Rift S at GDC2019 or somewhere else? thanks

    • Tharny

      Probably not. He would most likely have said so on his blogpost.

  • Foreign Devil

    When asked directly Carmac has not shut down the idea of Occulus Quest having a pass through mode for PC powered VR. So i’ll hold out of for that. Just that one feature would make Quest shoot up to the top VRHMD for me.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Will be hard to do a pass through mode for PC without the needed hardware..

      • Hivemind9000

        Perhaps they’re holding it back for the Oculus Quest S in 2022? No point giving everyone what they want, when they can drip feed them over the next 5 years or so. I mean, who doesn’t want to buy the same headset several times over with marginally improved specs?

        • Sven Viking

          If they can get eye-tracked foveated rendering working in the next headset, the bandwidth needed for wireless streaming from PC would be massively reduced and should support high resolutions without compression artifacts over inexpensive WiFi.

  • Sven Viking

    “Oculus founder Palmer Luckey, who left the company back in 2017…”

    The statement is correct either way, but just adding that Palmer commented on Reddit: “I did not leave, I was fired. Most people prefer to leave things more ambiguous, I want to make clear that the current state of Oculus is not the result of a choice to bail out on my part.”

  • Tesla

    Is it better in many way? A total bs.

  • fuyou2

    The best response to Oculus…DON’T BUY THIS PIECE OF SHIT!!!

    • Tharny

      For sure gonna buy this. And many many more most likely will.

  • brubble

    yeah but “mass adoption”. I guess Lenovo just wasn’t up to speed on Oculus’s goal.

  • Angry Netman

    I was really surprised that Anthony from VR Roundtable has a 72 mm IPD, yet enjoys the Oculus Go and the PSVR ( He does mention that it’s possible he’s just living in a permanently degraded experience, though: https://youtu.be/v2Ju5YVoLxs?t=4379 )

    My IPD is 71, and I haven’t tried the Go, but the PSVR is super blurry around the edges for me. It’s COMPLETELY unacceptable, I can’t stand using it at all because of that. The GearVR’s edges aren’t too bad, but everything is distorted for me and I get super nauseated if I do anything involving much head-turning because the world distorts around me somehow.

    I also was unable to use the Lenovo WMR headset at all because of blurry edges and the world being distorted when I turn.

    So I’m wondering if there might be some personal preferences involved in the world of selecting VR IPD. Maybe some people are more sensitive to/irritated by mismatched IPD than others.

    Personally, I would never buy a headset with a fixed IPD for my own use. I picked up a GearVR just to show VR to friends and family, but I’ve only logged maybe an hour in it myself. I’m really hoping that the move to OpenXR will make it possible to use my Oculus content on other headsets without hacky workarounds, because I’ve been heavily investing in Oculus content to avoid locking my flat gaming PC’s Steam content whenever someone uses my VR machine in the other room.

    • HybridEnergy

      He does say on his show that he gets headaches if he plays for extended periods of time. Could be that, I can stay in Skyrim VR for 6 hours and it’s like nothing happened.

  • crim3

    Maybe Palmer should try it first. Neither of his DK’s had IPD adjustment and I don’t remember him saying that he had trouble using them.

  • Lucidfeuer

    The Rift S is a non-device to me, neither is the Quest, I’m totally disengaged from Oculus not that I haven’t supported them and pushed for their headsets to client for long. There’s no just a single incentive or reason for me to do so anymore.

  • Elliot Morandi

    Rift S virtually had my money in the bank until I read more on it’s lack if IPD adjustment.
    As a person that has to use Rift at its 72mm max, this will probably mean problems – especially since I’ve had issues with PSVR and similar sets with fixed IPD.
    I don’t know what PSVR’s IPD is (probably the same 63-65mm), but it’s come off as blurry and I can feel a bit of eye strain when using. Something uncomfortable and software didn’t fix it.

    That’s too bad. I would’ve purchased the S just for the resolution bump and to continue to support VR, but with no adjustable IPD and even a lower refresh rate, I guess I’ll be sticking with my Rift or considering the Index if it drops in price (a whole different set of complaints on that one.)

  • you can use ….
    RX Safety Glasses