While to some Oculus’ announcement of the Rift S represents the newest and best version of a good VR headset, to others it’s a far cry from what they hoped Oculus would be able to deliver three years after the first Rift. Facebook’s top priority with Rift S is clear: jumpstart a sustainable ecosystem for developers, even if that means drawing ire from its base of loyal enthusiasts.

The Oculus Rift S announcement made its way to the front page of most major tech blogs yesterday, and the tone was pretty straightforward: ‘The new Oculus headset is here, it works better, there’s cool content, and it’s a pretty attractive package at $400’.

Image courtesy Oculus

Find your way into any VR enthusiast haunt however, and you’ll find an entirely different narrative about a headset that doesn’t go far enough (or in some cases is a ‘step backward’).

‘Damo9000’, a regular around the Oculus Subreddit, always seems to find the right moment to capture a snapshot of that community’s sentiment with a satirical ‘front page’ clipping of a fictional tabloid. Today’s edition is filled with community in-jokes, but is ultimately underscored by a painful reality: Rift S was not made for Oculus’ most passionate fans.

Image courtesy Damo9000

For Facebook, it’s a calculated move, made clear by the headset’s naming scheme: ‘This is Rift S, not Rift 2′.

But for many of those hardcore fans (some of whom have been rooting for Oculus and its vision since before it was acquired by Facebook) the moniker that comes after ‘Rift’ doesn’t matter—it doesn’t change the fact that this is the first new PC VR headset from Oculus in three years. And it doesn’t change the fact that those fans have patiently waited and watched as Facebook and Oculus talked about their commitment to VR and all the resources and R&D going toward the tech—only to announce something that feels more like a tune-up than The Future™.

SEE ALSO
Hands-on: Oculus Rift S is a Better, Easier to Use Rift (with a Few Tradeoffs)

But Rift S isn’t for those enthusiasts. It’s for developers.

Not in the sense that Rift S is a development kit, but in the sense that Facebook knows that it must build a sustainable developer ecosystem or VR will come crumbling down. Specs that excite enthusiasts might sell headsets to True Believers®, but content drives usage, and Facebook can only pour so many hundreds of millions of dollars into content—eventually the ecosystem has to stand on its own.

So while Rift S isn’t for enthusiasts, Facebook believes that they are making the right choice for those enthusiasts in the long term—by ensuring the survival of the ecosystem—so that it can one day deliver The Future™ that enthusiasts crave. Facebook wagers that Rift S, with its price point and improvements, is their best shot at growing the ecosystem so that developers can take root and eventually thrive.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressing an audience at F8 with ‘VR/AR’ shown in the background as part of the company’s ’10 Year Roadmap’ | Photo courtesy Facebook

But it is a wager. Facebook is trading on the good will of the only VR customers it currently has, for the customers it hopes it can have in the future. And there’s no guarantee that it will work.

In fact, there’s some key figures who think Facebook is making the wrong choice in exactly the opposite direction. Namely, Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey, who left the company back in 2017, three years after selling the company to Facebook.

Late last year Luckey penned an emphatic appeal on his personal blog arguing that driving down the cost of VR would not lead to mainstream adoption; advancing the hardware and content is key, more important than just cutting costs on the same experience that’s been available for a few years now, he believes.

“You could give a Rift+PC to every single person in the developed world for free, and the vast majority would cease to use it in a matter of weeks or months,” Luckey wrote to illustrate his point. “I know this from seeing the results of large scale real-world market testing, not just my own imagination [his emphasis] – hardcore gamers and technology enthusiasts are entranced by the VR of today, as am I, but stickiness drops off steeply outside of that core demographic. Free is still not cheap enough for most people, because cost is not what holds them back actively or passively.”

Luckey tells Road to VR that his article was specifically written with Rift S in mind, among others.

Facebook’s wager on Rift S may also be why one of Oculus’ other co-founders, Brendan Iribe, unexpectedly left the company late last year. Months before the Rift S was known to the public, TechCrunch reported that Iribe left in part because of the cancellation of a ‘Rift 2’ in favor of a more modest headset which would reportedly turn out to be Rift S.

Iribe and the Facebook had “fundamentally different views on the future of Oculus that grew deeper over time,” TechCrunch reported a source saying at the time. And that Iribe wasn’t interested in a “race to the bottom” in terms of performance. Enthusiasts were quick to connect the dots.

Facebook has committed hundreds of millions of dollars to VR content development, but their ecosystem still needs to reach meaningful sustainability.

For Facebook’s part, recent restructuring has aggressively fused Oculus with the core Facebook team, apparently in an effort to bring more central oversight and control to the VR initiative which had significantly more autonomy in prior years. With the reigns now more firmly in the hands of Facebook leadership, the Rift S aligns well with the reason that the company bought into VR in the first place—a gambit to outmaneuver Google and Apple by being the first to conquer XR.

Creating a bastion against Google and Apple—so that in XR Facebook is not subservient to those companies as they are in the mobile landscape—is the overarching goal; using Rift S as an effective lure for new customers (even if it means upsetting an enthusiast base), moves Facebook closer to that goal.

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  • Rudl Za Vedno

    Zuckerberg and Co wants to lock you into their ecosystem and milk you shitless with junk VR software and sell your data to the highest bidder. They want billions not millions of users to milk, so using lowest tech common denominator, makes perfect sense business wise. Personally I’m not interested in being milked to death by FB. Luckily I’m only interested in flight and space sims so headset with best screens wins me, period.

    • daveinpublic

      Well grab a Vive Pro Eye, then. Until you can afford what you want, appreciate that there’s a company that can create a serious VR headset that’s comfortable, has good resolution, and has amazing tracking for a normal price.

    • Graham J ⭐️

      Sounds like the Reverb might be for you. As me as well.

      • Trenix

        Say what you like, outside-in tracking is annoying, but it’s the most reliable way to enjoy VR currently. The same can be said about having a tethered headset. You can do what you want, but I’m sticking to what most people are currently capable of doing in regards to reliability and affordability. Reverb will have FAR worse tracking than the Oculus, just so you know.

        • Graham J ⭐️

          Yep I agree with all of that (Vive lover here) but op said that screen res is his priority and Reverb wins for that. Plus controller tracking usually doesn’t matter for sims since you’re using different controllers.

  • 144Hz

    What if facebook is actually spying on us through the oculus sensors and they’re selling the footage?

    • Xron

      What if google is spying on you and selling your info? ;p what if Samsung does so? Dude, ofc they do, its what living in todays society means.

      • Rudl Za Vedno

        Samsung, LG, Sony etc don’t need to do it, because they actually still produce high profit margin stuff like RAM and OLED panels but Google, FB, Amazon & CO that’s another story. Their core business is build around data mining and selling it to the highest bidder. Be it private enterprises or government agencies. It’s f…ed up World we live in, that’s why Tor and VPNs have been invented. I wouldn’t trust FB&GG my death grandma’s teeth.

        • daveinpublic

          So basically Oculus is the Android of the VR world. If people don’t have a problem with Android, then they definitely shouldn’t have a problem with Oculus.

    • FireAndTheVoid

      Facebook trades in user information – whatever information they can get their hands on, including purchasing information from third parties in order to aggregate and resell. They have promised that they will not capture images, house layouts, etc from their VR user base and that if they ever do, then they will tell you first. I bet they will hold off on the most extreme data collection until their user base grows large enough, then they will collect it en masse.

    • Firestorm185

      Dude, what are you doing in your office that you’re so concerned about them tracking you? XD I get it, but seriously, that comment is so overused at this point.

    • wcalderini

      Well. If they really want to watch me pick my nose and scratch my butt, more power to them. I can’t honestly think of what, if any benefit, they’d get from watching me do ANYTHING. For me the same kind of info goes with the whole data/mining privacy thing. It’s out there. I’m signing on and into a highly sensitive and robust tracking system every time I choose to go online. So. Mark Zuckerburg now knows that I like sub reddit videos and occasionally look at risque pictures on MIMP. It’s not the POLITICS of the device that disturbs me. At least with the Vive Pro we got a quantifiable improvement over the the Vive. This “Rift-S”, as I’ll probably end up buying anyway, seems more like a lateral move. They could have least matched the specs of their closest competitor. They’ll already have the $399 price point covered with the Quest.

      And as to the little hair pulling fight going on up above…the PSVR is a darn comfortable headset. The Pimax 5k Plus is the LEAST comfortable headset. (At least out of the box). We all have different criteria for what is most important in our VR experiences. Liking the fit and finish of the Rift-S does not automatically mean I like and subscribe to the corporate shenanigans of Facebook. It just means that it feels good on my face.

      And.
      Since I’m rambling, the Quest is going to eat everybody’s lunch. It’s going to be the right product at the right time, but it’s not worth the amount of hand wringing I see happening here. ANYTHING that brings more people into the fold is going to be a good thing for VR in the long run. Most of us experienced our first VR in cardboard, obviously the worst of all the VR subsets. But that did not step anyone who got the bug and wanted MORE from going out and getting the best experience possible for them.

      I was sold on this from the start, and being sold on it means I’m going to spend a LOT of money on things that are probably not going to hold their value.
      I’m thinking the quest is marking the beginning of the “early adoption” phase of VR and the next 24 months or so is really going to tell the tale of whether VR can make more than a skid mark imprint on the culture as a whole.

      My 2 cents that turned into about a buck. :)
      Sorry for the ramble.

      WRC

  • FireAndTheVoid

    I think Oculus might have mistepped here. I believe that the reason that Nvidia has traditionally held the largest market segment for GPUs is because their flagship products are the best in their field. Most gamers don’t buy the flagship products, they buy the low to mid-tier products. However, most gamers still buy Nvidia because they want the brand that has the “best” highest-end product. If Oculus choses not to compete in the high-end, they might lose market share overall. Of course HMDs aren’t graphics cards, so maybe my anology is off.

  • Trenix

    Do writers on this website have ties or have facebook employees working on it? This entire argument has been nothing but stupid. All it has done is set headsets back more years and might even kick Facebook out of the industry altogether, rightfully so. The people Facebook targets are those who don’t even want a headset to begin with. Stick with your niche market and have customers want what that customers had supported from the beginning. They’re simply pissing off those who supported them from day one, wrong move.

    • daveinpublic

      They’re not trying to get current users to upgrade. They figured out that the current audience is too small and picky for that. This refresh is solely about getting new users, saving money on the current headsets that have probably sold at a loss since day 1, and freeing up internal resources for future projects. If they were trying to get current Rift users to upgrade they know exactly what to do and what they want. There’s not even that many Rift and Vive users combined.

      The new Rift S is more comfortable, has much better lenses, has an LCD screen that is totally good enough, higher res than the last by a fair amount, runs at 80Hz which is an imperceptible change from 90Hz by even the pickiest VR enthusiasts. Plenty of good S upgrades in there, and smart cost cutting in areas that don’t make a huge difference. I personally wanted something a little more, but I think it’s a smart decision, and I think Facebook has already done more for VR than anyone could have asked. This will make VR sustainable for them, which will continue to carve out a future for us.

      • Trenix

        I’m a new user. It’s been 6 years since the Oculus Rift has been released and I want an upgrade as much as the current users. I don’t want to buy and old or more inferior product. Also I’ve tried this halo band crap, it’s not comfortable and its also heavier, which further ruins the experience. The framerate change does matter, more so for gamers, especially when the screen is right next to your damn face. I can go on and on about all of this, this is pathetic. Enjoy your failure and giving facebook surveillance in your household.

        • daveinpublic

          VR meme starting…

          VR enthusiasts in 2012, “I hope we can get a real VR headset to be released. I don’t know what it would look like or cost, but I have a brave hope that it will get here someday.”

          VR enthusiasts in 2019, “Also I’ve tried this halo band crap, it’s not comfortable and its also heavier… I can go on and on about all of this, this is pathetic.”

          • Trenix

            How is asking for a real headset equivlant to getting something arguably far worse than what has been released 6 years ago? Where is your logic? I need to reduce my IQ to get to your level, because I cannot fathom how mentally handicapped you are. You are most definitely the tiny target market that facebook is after, no doubt.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            Six years ago Oculus released the Rift DK1 with 1280*800 pixel resolution, 3DoF tracking only and no touch controllers. I’m pretty sure we can agree that the Rift S is not fare worse. It’s not even worse than the Rift CV1 Oculus released three years ago, which I own (alongside a DK1, DK2, Vive and several mobile HMDs). I’ve been using all of them a lot, and I consider buying a Rift S on a sale simply for the halo band mount, as the lack of comfort is my main problem with the existing VR HMDs. So far nothing has been more comfortable then the PSVR thanks to the halo band mount.

            And as the long time of waiting for the release of a “proper” VR headset and not being able to actually experience it seems to have had some negative impact on you emotional state and discussion style, I leave this for you as an incentive to actually try instead of talk about what could be.

            http://www.dorkly.com/post/82964/the-problem-with-waiting-for-the-perfect-game-system

          • Trenix

            With the touch controllers, Rift S is not better than the original. Resolution is not everything, far from it. The halo band is also the most uncomfortable and bulky piece of garbage around. Have fun though.

          • care package

            Gee not according to pretty every reviewer on Youtube. Have fun though.

          • Trenix

            I’m not a sheep, sorry that you are. Now go buy the Oculus because Mark Cuck told you to.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            Of course you aren’t a sheep. Sheep only live between 10-12 years, while your tendency to insult everybody who doesn’t agree with you hints that you are at least 14, if not 15.

          • Trenix

            “My favorite youtuber told me to buy it!” – person who thinks he isn’t 14.

          • care package

            Ya, you’re a regular independent bad ass lmao, just ask you.

          • care package

            Ya, you’re a regular independent badass, just ask you. lmao.

          • Trenix

            Was that supposed to be an insult? I think for myself, I don’t think what other people make me think. I’m not bragging, but you guys brag about following what youtubers tell you. That’s pathetic at best.

          • care package

            I am aware you think more highly of yourself than others probably do of you. Arrogance is pathetic.

          • Trenix

            I don’t think highly of myself, I think for myself. You too should think for yourself and stop being a brain-dead sheep.

          • care package

            You do realize were just talking about VR headsets here right? lmao. Deciding whether you really think for yourself or not is a long conversation we could get into, but I sure as hell wouldn’t start with what VR headset you prefer. You sound kind of dumb really.

          • Trenix

            Your mother is a whore, but we aren’t talking about that right now.

          • gbox

            great dorkly link=> exactly how it is: just some people who are always complaining and not being satisfied no matter what.

            So.. of course I also want to have a Rift 2, but the (affordable/existing) graphic cards are not up to the task yet.

            I was first a little disappointed about the Rift S and at the same time still excited. I own a Rift and PSVR and as many know, PSVR tracking is just not good enough, the move controllers are bad too, screen/displays are pretty ok, content is good with highlights such as RE7, Rush of Blood, etc. I am waiting for PSVR 2, too.
            The Rift has great tracking (using three sensors, no usb problems), very good content, great touch controllers, and just an ok display – for my taste I really want/need a sharper/high res display, with less/no SDE if possible, more than I want the FOV to increase – for now. When I first used a VR headset, I was not thinking that I need a wider FOV, I was thinking I need to be able to read the damn small texts and not to see the pixels and the SDE etc..

            So here comes finally Rift S, and still I think it is a good move:
            -it is affordable
            -80hz: I was first worried, those guys from TESTED said that they didnt notice anything bad or worth mentioning
            -LCD: with three subpixels it will be, from what I understand, sharper than an OLED with two subpixels, correct me if Im wrong
            –black levels will be not as good, but LCDs in phones usually look pretty good, too, so I am expecting/hoping that the Rift S will also look pretty good
            –less/no godrays
            -Audio: yes I like the original Rifts headphones a lot, but why not make use of the headphone jack and use your own headphones with the Rift S? I use my good quality headphones with PSVR and I love it
            -tracking: I already have a great working tracking system with good cable management, so for me its not an advantage to have the INSIGHT tracking/no sensors – still I hope for it to be precise for every game out there such as the Echo games.
            -almost same quality touch controllers
            -halo system: some users might find it uncomfortable but I believe that the majority will like it a lot
            -passthrough+: nice “addon”, excited to see this working
            -can use my oculus games library

            Im expecting that at least 30% of existing Rift users will upgrade – it really seems to be the better headset. Many new users who wanted to try out VR will buy it too. There will be sales and even more old Rift users will probably upgrade and even more new users will buy and try. And eventually devs will start making bigger and better games for VR – thats what I hope and wish for.

            I also wish for a true Rift 2 and I think it will come as soon as there are powerful and affordable graphic cards or eye tracking or geforce now / stadia kind of streaming – so we need some patience and should be happy with what we (can) have – we should be happy to live in this day and age and be able to experience VR.

        • HybridEnergy

          Just go Vive man. Despite all the Oculus fans bitching and moaning about price, support, and controllers…it’s still the meanest and high end headset in my opinion on the market period. The HP and COSMOS both are going to be 4k inside out tracked headsets. The RIFT S is a puzzling move, I think their bet is on the QUEST is my best guess why.

          • Trenix

            If the knuckles get revealed, I will most likely sweep up the Vive ASAP. The only thing holding the Vive back is cost and controllers.

        • Bob

          “It’s been 6 years since the Oculus Rift has been released ”

          What?

          • Trenix

            Yeah, it released in March 2016.

          • Bob

            And how many years is that?

  • JesuSaveSouls

    Its gotten rid of the sensors and improved the resolution.If the cord is long and now its probably only requiring one cord,it can be much more maneuverable which is superior than vives base stations.Jesus God’s Son died for you too.He is alive!

    • CursingLlama

      In what way is inside out tracking superior to the lighthouses used for steam VR? I give you it lowers costs and reduces setup time. However, I’d have to say the ‘superior’ tracking system is the one that loses it’s tracking the least. We’ll have to wait until some review folks have a hold of it and push the tracking limits a bit.

      • Rogue Transfer

        It’s already been admitted by Nate Michel in Tested’s recent interview about the Quest/Rift S’s tracking that they lose controller tracking close-to-the-headset and behind-the-back and when you put one hand-over-the-other.

        That’s inferior to the SteamVR tracking and the range for Insight tracking’s boundary currently is around 7.5m square – less than Lighthouse 2.0 is capable of, at 10m square with four base stations and not much more than the 6m square with just two.

      • Graham J ⭐️

        Ignore this troll; she only posts to spread this Jesus crap.

    • kontis

      Tell that to the dancing community using full body tracking all the time. So many enthusiasts had to give up on Rift, even when they preferred it, and buy Vive because of that.

      You may think this is something only ultra geeks would care about, but there are teenage non-gamer(!) girls in this community. Why is Oculus not trying to target this kind of passionates?!?!

      • Trenix

        I’d have to agree, unlike consoles or PCs, VR has been appealing to girls which the gaming industry have always failed to draw their attention. Big opportunity here, but I assume facebook is filled with affirmative action morons who probably shouldn’t be in the position they’re currently in, but are so for “diversity”.

        As someone who has education in business and marketing, I always ponder how mentally handicap big corporations truly are and yet they never seem to go out of business.

      • Graham J ⭐️

        Ignore this troll; she only posts to spread this Jesus crap.

    • Graham J ⭐️

      As if you’re still doing this. Quit with the stupid Jesus myth crap.

  • HybridEnergy

    Well… Palmer Luckey is right. So who will buy this as another PC headset? It seems from the Oculus fans that they rather stick with Rift CV1 and those not interested in the original RIFT aren’t in the market for the RIFT S anyway because the problem really is marketing. You can’t really force cut costs, need to push tech and let that reduce costs in the long term itself instead. Who is this for? an enthusiast has a better headset and the new VR arrival wasn’t already convinced by CV1 so he would want this why? Mixed Reality MS headsets didn’t exactly steam roll VR into the future yet have hit sub $200 deals.

    • FireAndTheVoid

      I think your point on Windows MR headsets is spot on. If Windows MR couldn’t gain significant traction among people new to VR at sub-$200 levels, how will this slightly better version of a Windows MR headset do it?

      • Firestorm185

        I think they’re betting on the content, which is unfortunate being that this iteration doesn’t really do anything to make the content better, aside from making things slightly more clear in the headset. They probably would have been better off just waiting for Rift 2 and focusing on better content in the mean time, but for people who do end up purchasing a headset now, I think the S will be a better experience than the Rift CV1. (speculation on my part obviously, I am not at GDC)

        • Moe Curley

          And even great content will not keep users engaged on low resolution, god ray and screen door plagued headsets. People are viewing 4k lifelike images in their living rooms in 2019. Low res and screen door are deal breakers for the general public.

          • sfmike

            So agree. We live in a HD world then you pun on a HMD and view a 360 video in VHS quality. So many people I’ve shown my HMD to first comment is why is it so blurry. 5.7K video has helped this a lot.

      • Rudl Za Vedno

        It won’t. FB doesn’t give a damn about PC VR. That’s not their target audience. They want to sell standalone HMDs to every day Joes interested in social media VR platforms like Bigscreen so they can data mine them blind and collect percentages from game sales in Oculus store. PC is open world system with Steam, Epic and god knows who in the future stores. Plus there is piracy problem. FB don’t want to share profits with them. They want you all by themselves like Sony does with PSVR.

        • Graham J ⭐️

          Agree. FB is a data mining and ad company; they want more heads in HMDs so they can do more of that. Cheaper HMDs means more heads in HMDs. Strategy is not their forté and neither, certainly, is industry altruism.

          • daveinpublic

            Same as Android.

          • Graham J ⭐️

            Absolutely.

        • Adrian Meredith

          Pc VR was dead the moment they realised they couldn’t stamp out revive. They had bet on getting absolute dominance in the store but stream bebe then

          • HybridEnergy

            Those STEAM monies $$$

        • Tesla

          It is wrong Oculus sold itself to Facebook. Big mistake. Palmer and the guys would have their PC VR customera and it would work. With Facebook it ended in disaster. Why Palmer and other guy do not start VR company again? I bet they would have lots of supporters and money from PC users.

      • Guru Guy

        But Rift has sold far more than WIndows MR, at a higher cost, so if Oculus would have gotten RIft down to $200 level it would sell WAY WAY WAY better than WIndows MR because it is a better product with a better ecosystem and better marketing. My main problem with Rift S is the cost, its more than Rift was.

        • Chris Edwards

          Not really, Rift was $600 when it was first launched.

          • dsadas

            that was first gen product with nothing better on the market. If they asked 199 for go and 399 for quest, then this should have been 249. But part of the price is probably the fact that they didn’t even made it themselvs.

        • FireAndTheVoid

          What dsadas said. Oculus has as much market share as they do because they were one of the first to market. Everyone who was excited to buy a VR headset has already bought one. Oculus will be trying to sell the Rift S to people who haven’t been swayed into buying one yet. These are the same people who have decided not to purchase a Rift at $350 or a Samsung Odyssey at $300 or a Lenovo explorer at $200. Yes, the Rift S might be better in some ways than those offerings, but not much better. I just don’t see enough there to entice new buyers.

      • ImperialDynamics

        who the hell said that WMR isn’t gaining traction? You people need to read tech news more often.

        • FireAndTheVoid

          10% market share isn’t traction. Facebook needs multiples of the current adoption rate in order for their purchase of Oculus to make sense. Also, I read VR and tech news daily and I own multiple VR headsets, including a Windows MR headset. I am pretty well informed.

    • There actually has been a pretty steady flow of new users buying up Rift and Vive headsets. They’ve been going out of stock and their respective reddit communities continue to grow.
      Granted this is only one piece of the puzzle, but if you get a Rift today, the base package is more or less a front-facing tracking experience. Based on Oculus’ own hardware report, attach rate for a third sensor is only about 20%. So most of those new users aren’t ever going to experience the magic of being able to turn any which way and completely lose yourself in a virtual experience.
      That does have a fairly significant impact on the experiences you can enjoy, and probably has a quantitative impact on the ‘stickiness’ of the product over time.

      • HybridEnergy

        That’s not something I would disagree or counter in my previous comment. VR is a steady climb and I see them flying off the shelf, one of the reasons I’m a VIVE user is because I think Oculus did more harm than good pushing half finished products. VR should never ever have been released with out motion controllers…and ever with out the idea of it being 360 degrees at the least. It was the VIVE that made me a VR fanboy. I like the RIFT with a 3rd sensor, it’s a great package now.

        • Guess what I was trying to counter is, “new VR arrival wasn’t already convinced by CV1 so he would want this why?”. The new people researching VR headsets are convinced by the Rift but I think Oculus knows that out-of-the-box tracking experience is lacking in ‘stickiness’ to keep more casual users engaged. Just my speculation though and it is only one piece of the bigger picture, although I think it might be the most important.

          IMO, the Vive also has frustrating limitations that make it less sticky too, but what they did with Lighthouse and motion controllers was no doubt essential to VR’s progress.

          • care package

            I wouldn’t be surprised if lighthouse gets phased out for inside-out tracking. VR’s progress sure seems to be headed that way.

          • doug

            If there’s controller dead zones, is it really “progress” though?

          • care package

            I have dead zones with my 2 sensor Rift setup, buying more sensors wasn’t worth the 5% gain for few games that even need 360 degrees. It’s progress if it’s better across a broad range of features. If all you’re looking at is 360 degree sensing, than no.

          • nebošlo

            Not sure why you’re pretending like 360 isn’t important for VR. It’s pretty much standard and what we expect going forward, even the platform holders acknowledge this.

          • care package

            a requirement of 360 is not standard. Rough number here, but 90% of VR games can be played facing one direction if you want to, even seated if you want to, as far as I know. With inside out tracking (Rift S replacing the Rift), I wouldn’t be surprised to see 360 get implemented more. So ya, so far it hasn’t been that important.

          • nebošlo

            Out of 4062 VR tagged games on Steam, 2890 are tagged room-scale. That’s 71% in favor of room-scale, as opposed to your claim of 90% in favor of seated. And the even more absurd 5% claim you made earlier.

            The fact that many if not most of room-scale games CAN be played seated does not erase the fact that we expect to see room-scale in 2019 and going forward.

            We do.

            As standard.

          • care package

            I never said ‘in favor of seated’ dude c’mon. What I did say, you said correctly in the 2nd paragraph. You give me actual numbers, but then state ‘many, if not most’.
            Many if not most aren’t even set up for room scale due to space limitations, or they dont want to move furniture every time, which is why you can play most of them seated. That’s not going to change either,
            I’m not against room scale or 360. It just is what it is

          • Pre Seznik

            That in no way negates the point, my man.

          • nebošlo

            It’s a huge downgrade, in my eyes. Really let down by this. Sacrificing quality for making a cheaper, more accessible product. That’d be fine if they also had a high-end option, but they don’t.

          • care package

            Oh ya it’s a HUUUUGE downgrade lol. SMH

          • HybridEnergy

            Light houses are amazing, I understand why some find it cumber sum to put up to sensors I guess but it being not an issue for me, I’ll switch to inside out only when it’s 100% that good.

          • care package

            Or when it’s your only option with that new HMD you’ll want.

          • I wouldn’t be so sure about that. It’s going to depend on a number of things, namely if inside-out tracking can overcome it’s two main limitations: interactions behind the user’s back and interactions close to the user’s head.
            If these can be addressed in some way that brings tracking parity to Lighthouse, yeah, Valve themselves have said they’d move away from Lighthouse.
            I don’t think that is a guarantee at this point though. Inside-out likely is going to need to incorporate some other kind of sensor technology before it can overcome those hurdles and that could be years or even decades away.

          • care package

            It isn’t going to depend on anything. Inside-out is already taking over. What it needed to ‘overcome’ it already has, specifically with the new Rift products at this point. The few slight occlusion problems aren’t really an issue. All it needs to be is a better solution OVERALL, which it is.

          • I still think you’d be jumping the gun there. No one has had the chance to put Insight through its paces. Maybe it’ll be indistinguishable from Constellation/Lighthouse, but there’s at least a good chance the tracking issues will be enough to rub certain enthusiast groups the wrong way, in particular, the competitive shooter crowd.
            Inside-out is clearly going to become the defacto tracking option. There’s no argument there. For those who need or want the highest quality (within reason) might still prefer something like Lighthouse for the time being.

          • No Spam

            80% of people who bought Rift not only had dead spots behind their back, they couldn’t even turn around without losing tracking on their controllers.

            Immediate roomscale by default, with one cord, no sensors, 5 on-board cameras, real-world passthrough, no “god rays”, higher resolution, more comfortable fit, and glasses compatibility is so much better than the original Rift’s out-of-box experience that focusing on minor edge cases makes the enthusiast crowd seem increasingly out of touch.

          • Haha, on the whole I think the enthusiast crowd is completely out of touch with what Rift S is meant to be.

            That out of box experience is incredibly important and I think overall the Rift S is the right move for Oculus. At the same time, they are damaging their relationship with the top 20% of their user base with all the tradeoffs that they took here. To steal a term from the free-to-play market, this is where your “whales” live. They spend the most on content and consistently come back for more, they’re also your strongest advocates on social media and word of mouth. I don’t think it’s something you’d want to disregard without careful consideration.
            That section of Oculus’ users are ripe for disruption if Valve can deliver a headset in the near future that improves on the overall experience in a big way.

          • Rainfox Wolfstone

            did valve just give up on knuckles?

          • Not in the slightest! Sorry if my comment insinuated that, I was referring to Valve’s initial work with Lighthouse and wand controllers, updated my comment for clarity. Everything known so far about Knuckles suggests it’s not only still in the works, but VERY close to being a finished, consumer ready device.
            And once again Valve is set to push the entire VR experience to the next level.

        • Hey @hybridenergy:disqus !
          I have 3rd sensor on my Rift. Was a pain in the rear to configure properly but it was actually the pain I needed to properly setup the first two, actually. Their walk-through, even with the full motion videos was not clear enough and I’m a sysop!

          Room scale is awesome. My boss has VIVE and likes it now that he has a room set aside for permanent (and big enough) for proper setup.

          That being said..it’s still a pain. I move my rig constantly. I love showing it off. But, Inside out tracking is the way to go.

          This article does point out some valid concerns but I don’t agree with Palmer Lucky 100%. Market research is not the same as the market. Just look and the numbers before and after the 2016 election. No! Don’t go there! =)

          I personally understand it’s not 2.0 and not everything we want/asked for. But, let’s get real here. We won’t have that until 5.0

          • HybridEnergy

            I do use my ACER for demoing more for that reason, but man nothing beats my light house tracking when I’m playing stuff like SPARC and Echo Arena or even Contractors.

      • care package

        Now give us the specs on how many VR titles require 360 degrees. I use a 2 sensor setup and experience very little occlusion.

        • HybridEnergy

          Well if you are wireless like me there is no “front”. lol

          • care package

            within games there are ‘fronts’.

          • HybridEnergy

            Not in my games, for me going from wired to wireless was a game changer, going back to wired is terrible but going back to 180 degrees would be a kick in the balls. I think I’d go back to flat gaming. You can get by with 180 2 sensors, if you haven’t tried the greener grass of the freedom of wireless and 360. It’s like that with everything. It’s why I don’t want to try a larger FOV yet, I may have a harder time enjoying my headset at home as much.

          • care package

            I’m getting a Rift S, which is not only room scale out of the box, but according to a YouTube review of the S I just watched, he was doing things successfully behind the back. Once beyond camera range, it’s still using movement to track the location

          • HybridEnergy

            It does have good tracking from what I hear now.

          • care package

            Have yet to hear that

          • HybridEnergy

            A few people who were at the GDC said it was very good. Felt like light house tracking.

          • care package

            May bad, I read ‘doesn’t have good tracking’ for some reason. I have heard the same, in fact NOTHING negative at all. All this hate on the Rift S, and it would very well be the inside-out we’ve been waiting for.

          • HybridEnergy

            Yes, I guess I’m just spoiled being a Vive user not having to worry about tracking issues what-so-ever. For me the light houses are perfect already and I don’t care about putting two sensors up. This and comfort seem like two major pluses for the RIFT-S, unfortunately that is pluses I already have so it’s just not headset for me.

        • It isn’t to say that people can’t have a great time with a front-facing setup, I mean hello Beat Saber. But experiences with open-ended environments with some element of personal traversal, will be diminished by the limitation.
          If we look at the top 50 best selling VR games on Steam, about 50% of them would be enhanced by full 360 tracking.

          • care package

            50%? Not even close. If that were the case using a rift with 2 front facing sensors only would make 50% of Steam VR unplayable. I’ll reserve judgement when the hands on reviews are in. Until then its speculation.

          • If that were the case using a rift with 2 front facing sensors only would make 50% of Steam VR unplayable.

            Nope, all of those games are completely playable with front-facing, they just have to rely more heavily on artificial turning, which may not be a bad experience. And, case in point you, people can adjust and become accustomed to that limitation. I used front facing for a while too and found it to be an acceptable experience, but you and I think VR is awesome and we’ll put up with the limitations.

            Average consumers will be much less forgiving and having to keep track of the front of your playspace is a frustration that will rear it’s head in plenty of apps. And now, front facing has conditioned you to face forward, meaning even if you did upgrade to 360, it would take a while for the benefits to even really show themselves.
            If you do get the chance to upgrade at some point, I think a good showcase of its advantages is Robo Recall. That game is constantly throwing things at you from every direction and I think you’d discover the game actually gets more manageable when you’re not having to think about your play space as much.

          • care package

            I must have read your OG post wrong. Wouldn’t disagree with you. I played Robo Recall with my 2 sensor setup just fine. My sensors are mounted at the 2 ‘front’ corners of the room and 7 feet up so there is pretty good coverage.

    • care package

      Luckyey’s right, but no entirely right. I paid $800 for my Rift setup, and never use it, so paying a lot for something doesn’t make it stick anymore. There’s no question consumers prefer cheap over expensive.

      • brandon9271

        But he IS right. Even for free you’d still get bored with VR because the experience isn’t that compelling after the “wow” factor wears off. Something like Skyrim VR could really get people hooked but the resolution and FOV aren’t high enough. Once VR is affordable, the hardware is mature AND we have AAA content like Skyrim VR then we’ll see things take off. That’s if it’s content is ported with care or developed from the ground up and not half assed ports, which Skyrim sort of was.

        • Gary001

          Skyrim VR doesn’t take off because it’s a decade old game that many people played out years ago. Better res isn’t going to change that fact. VR needs more compelling content, and developers aren’t going to waste time developing AAA games for a product very few people have. I want cutting edge tech too but it’s not there yet and in the mean-time, expanding the user base will only encourage developers to make more and better content.

          • brandon9271

            Yes, but Skyrim is a totally different experience in VR and worth playing again. At least its a full game. Name another full game that’s in VR. Sure its a 10 year old game but it’s not like developers are going to create a next gen game of that scale for VR. It would flop unless it was so compelling it drove VR hardware sales.

          • care package

            I’m with Gary. I bought Skyrim VR and within an hour had my refund. It is a totally different experience in VR, but I soon realized I wasn’t going to enjoy playing such a dated game – for the second time. Fallout 4 is in VR. Alien Isolation is still the best ‘unofficial’ full VR game. I played it twice in VR, and twice on a flat panel.

          • dsadas

            skyrim is a 7 years old game not 10.

          • ben2

            I agree.
            Skyrim VR is just one of the many skins ripped off from Skyrim over the years. It also has limited control. While it is ok to pick up objects with a game controller on a console it feels unnatural instead of using your own hands. So every time you interact with the environment it pulls you out from immersion: “ahh ok, it is Skyrim originally written for consoles, that’s why I cannot touch anything”.
            Anyway the major setback of VR is not the HMD prices nor the lack of content but the current status of the GPU market.
            Rift was originally designed in mind that GPUs’ processing power will keep increasing over the years while prices will go down as it happened before for decades.
            Now the GPU market has stucked: no price drop with the prev-gen and the top of the line GPUs give less than 30% more for double of the price. So Oculus – or any other VR company that targets the wider audience – simply cannot afford to drastically increase the hardware requirements without loosing the majority of their users.

        • care package

          I would agree with everything you said, but cost will ALWAYS still be a factor. I went back to flat panel gaming for the AAA titles. VR was helluva fun for a few years, but I just can’t get into Indies. AAA titles will only come with mass adoption. Mass adoption can only come with simple and cheap. Faceplant are the only ones doing it right IMO. Enthusiast tech can’t keep VR alive. It never could

          • brandon9271

            It’s the classic chicken/egg problem. Developers want a user base but consumers need a reason to buy the hardware first. VR has no “killer app.” I dropped a grand on a PC back in the day just so I could play Quake. I know times have changed but content is everything. It always has been. WMR can be had for $200 and VR ready laptops are around $500-600. Desktops are even less if you go with minimum specs like 1050ti or 1060. I feel like Valve could be the ones to really drive VR. If they dropped Halflife 3 bundled with an HMD and knuckles controllers that could change everything. If you offer something truly compelling people will find a way to purchase it. Sony and MS have no trouble selling $600 game consoles

          • care package

            That’s funny as hell I was JUST thinking this myself. That’s exactly what it is. We aren’t going to get AAA titles without a user base, and we aren’t going to get a user base without AAA titles. If I had to take a guess, I’d say it needs to start cheap. Sure they may end up in the closet, but that would be until something comes out worth playing again.

      • Jistuce

        He wasn’t saying that being expensive will make people use it. He was saying it flat-out isn’t good enough, and that cutting corners to make it cheaper will only make it worse. If you put a cheap headset out there, people might buy it, but they won’t keep using it.

        • ImperialDynamics

          ask any satisfied Oculus Go user how wrong you are

          • Jistuce

            How wrong Palmer Lucky is. I’m the interpreter, not the prophesier.

        • care package

          I’m aware of his point, you arent of mine though. It’s a chicken/egg scenario. We won’t see AAA title content without high adoption, and we won’t see high adoption without AAA content. Oculus are the only ones right now pushing for both, as they’ve created their own higher budget games.

    • Downvote King

      If the Rift S had been available before Christmas when I decided to purchase a PSVR, I would have heavily considered it, even though it would have required me to spend more on a CPU vs the PS4. It’s got the ergonomics I want from WMR/PSVR, with the tracking I want from Rift/Vive without external sensors. It’s a well considered package, if not actually next gen; a solid refinement at a great price. It would definitely be my top choice for PC VR, and may very well have swung me in favor of that solution. It seems incredibly underrated by the community from my point of view.

    • jwvanderbeck

      Palmer is right and its easy to see by looking at how many people actually already own a VR headset bu barely use it. I don’t have numbers but I bet the percentage of owners who use heir headset “rarely” is pretty high.

      • HybridEnergy

        It’s so puzzling to me, I have two headsets and they get picked up daily.

    • Neo Racer

      Yep waiting for foveated rendering, eye tracking a much bigger resolution or FOV boost I can wait.

    • ImperialDynamics

      you don’t follow marketshare news i can tell. WMR is increasing its marketshare month after month. Why do you think that is? Technological superiority? Hell no, it is because of affordability.

      • HybridEnergy

        I never said it wasn’t increasing, in general VR headsets are occupying more and more of Steam use as well. What I said was it didn’t steam roll VR into the future, which it didn’t.

  • Torn about whether or not to buy this myself, but I think this article is dead on. There simply aren’t enough headsets out there for developers to justify AAA quality and budgets. And the bulk of oculus headsets are front facing setups, further restricting the ecosystem.

    My real worry is that quest is going to completely undo the rift s. If it sells like hot-cakes, both developers AND Oculus Studios may double down on the same crappy limited content we’ve been getting, because that’s all the quest will be capable of. Much like consoles have held back PC gaming for decades.

    VR needs some big risk taking to succeed, I’m just not sure that FB is taking the right ones.

    Meanwhile, Valve seems to have completely abandoned ship on their end. The Vive Pro, while fantastic, was and still is horrifically over priced, and I’m in no way confident in HTC’s ability to design a tracking system from scratch.

    Tl;dr: Facebook’s taking is in some frustrating directions, but they’re becoming the only game in town for people who want proper room scale VR.

    • FireAndTheVoid

      The Quest *will* sell like hotcakes (my bet is 2-3 times PC-based VR) and it will confirm Facebook’s gamble on the mobile device. Oculus R&D on PC VR will slowly fade to nothing.

      • Rudl Za Vedno

        My thoughts exactly. I’m hoping Samsung will fill PC hardware void. Their Odyssey+ is very good and recently filled patents of 210 FOV HMD are out of this world. BUT that being said, if there is no good PC VR software out there, Samsung might just put plans of future Odyssey in the drawer. They’re profit driven tech corporation above all else. If market is not big enough, product will never see the light of the day, no matter how good it might be.

      • JustNiz

        > Oculus R&D on PC VR will slowly fade to nothing.
        Apparently it already has.

      • PK

        problem is that Quest won’t allow for vrchat, which is by far the most popular vr app that people i know use. it’s just too underpowered for creative amateur devs to build and share worlds & avatars on. and with all the innovation that’s on the way, any headset that exclused it is handicapped. sure that might give Rec Room and others opportunity to build up more of the metaverse. but maybe this also allows for more ambitious HMD designers to gain traction as well. it’s been enough years that the entire industry should be embracing an upgrade in minimum specs anyway.

    • HybridEnergy

      I agree with most of what you say, specially about the content but Valve and HTC aren’t really playing together anymore. Valve isn’t out of the game, they just take their time. Also, what is wrong with the original Vive with all it’s hardware now at 500 it’s in my opinion still the best room scale VR, you don’t need the Vive Pro. Also, lets not forget the upcoming Cosmos, and the higher end MR HP 4k headset. These all are inside/out tracking.

    • care package

      This worries me too. Just watched a Dead and Buried 2 video. Need to see more, but I’m worried Rift users will be stuck playing a Quest version, especially since there’s cross-play between the two. Hell I’m already disappointed in the direction VR has gone anyway though, which is why I went back to flat panel gaming for the AAA games. I don’t do Indies. My favorite VR experience is still Alien Isolation using a controller.

  • beestee

    I think the Rift S serves one purpose. Once the hype train is in motion for Quest, there are still many PC gamer holdouts to attract that have not adopted VR yet. Rift S fills a void for this category. It is Quest with a cord, allowing a gamer with a good PC to connect to more local compute power if they have it.

    If I didn’t have a Rift already, or a Samsung Odessey, I would strongly consider the Rift S. Since I do have those headsets, there is not enough in the Rift S to entice me. The Quest on the other hand I am strongly interested in.

    • gothicvillas

      everyone is so hyped about the quest (me too) but so far I havent really seen anything groundbreaking in terms of games… all games are very simple looking, large poligons etc, its like some Rec Room world. I want it too. I just want there some decent games. SOmething where i could say wow this is awesome. So far null.

      • It’s kind of a relief to see Beat Saber will be there at launch and that it plays (and looks) just fine. But yeah, I’d really like to see something designed to push the graphics to their limits. Hopefully Vader Immortal, Robo Recall, and the Climb can showcase that a bit.

      • Trenix

        You wont get any, Quest has a processor that was in a Samsung phone two years ago.

  • edzieba

    The key is continuity: Anything built to Oculus’ performance specs for the Rift CV1 will work with the Rift S, and vice versa. Launching a HMD with a large break in performance requirements would mean limitation in both the library of content immediately available (until developers update, if ever) AND spiking up the continually descending price of the hardware needed to drive VR. e.g. the GTX 1660 beats the originally specced GTX 970 across the board while shaving $100 off the launch price, and as lower end cards launch that price barrier is going to continue to drop.

    On the other hand, the demonstrated NN-based foveated periphery reconstruction method alone would need cards with Tensor cores or equivalent to avoid massive brute force grunt required to drive at full res, and those have yet to achieve wide penetration in the market. Holding off an a Rift 2 for another year gives time to build a support base and get eye-tracking up to an acceptable standard.

    • Rogue Transfer

      According to the latest OC5 talk by Facebook Realities Labs’ Michael Abrash, they expect their ‘next level’ in VR to be 2022 – when they hope to have found a viable way to get reliable enough eye-tracking. Not next year, I’m afraid.

      You are right about the NN-based foveated rendering will take a long time for GPUs capable of it to reach penetration. Much longer than a year though, at the increased price GPUs jumped to this gen.

    • JustNiz

      Dude Oculus have repeatedly demonstrated that they aren’t even bothering with the high-end anymore. Waiting for a Rift 2 is like waiting for the next train on an abandoned railway line.

  • Michael Hill

    Frankly I’d rather buy a used CV1 than get the Rift S. I was going to jump into VR with Oculus because so far their Touch controllers are unrivaled but now I don’t trust the direction of the company. I don’t want to have to jump ecosystems and repurchase all my games when the next great headset comes out because I no longer believe it will be Oculus getting there first despite their money and R&D. Guess I’ll be waiting for knuckles and to see what Valve has and maybe I’ll even go team Pimax.

    • care package

      I’m already in it. I’ll sell you my used Rift, that’s not that used. Just sits. What the Rift S offers would get me back into VR.

      • Michael Hill

        What does it offer that isn’t already on the market?

        • care package

          You mean a Rift S? I’m already part of the Oculus ecosystem, don’t plan to upgrade my PC (I5, 1070). Really my two biggest gripes with the Rift are low visuals and sweating within the headset. The Go panel along with the ability to slide the HMD forward should solve both. When you buy my used Rift, I’ve got a replacement pad I’ve never used as well.

          • Dark Avry

            How much?

          • care package

            Thinking around $250

        • Dark Avry

          Rift S offers small fixes in ONE package.

    • JustNiz

      > I don’t want to have to jump ecosystems and repurchase all my games when the next great headset comes out

      You’re thinking exactly the right way. The headset itself is not the only cost by a long way. Oculus are clearly the last company that people just now getting into VR should tie themselves/their games library to. You can’t go wrong with anything Steam-based, it’s far too big to just fade away (and take your games library with it). SteamVR has become the de-facto standard for controls/tracking and unlike Oculus, is having real development money spent on it and drives products made by multiple manufacturers.

      • jumane

        Lol how do u figure all this. The last time we check rift was the number one PC hmd. Even htc is trying to get away from value. And u call it de-facto standard? Oculus has said all hmd in the line will be compatible meaning all in the rift line will run the rift games, all in the quest line will run quest games, etc and oculus ecosystem will be crossed play and cross buy with quest. Also all Quest games will be coming to rift if u don’t have a rift the S is a great buy if u have a rift just wait till the end of 2020 when the rift 2 drops

        • JustNiz

          > rift was the number one PC hmd.

          Number one? Rift specs are crap compared to most new headsets.

          > htc is trying to get away from value.

          You got that the wrong way round. It’s that SteamVR/Valve chose another manufacturer to partner with than HTC this time round.

          > Oculus has said all hmd in the line will be compatible

          With what? only other Oculus products. SteamVR supports multiple different manufacturers headsets (including Oculus/Rift).

          > if u have a rift just wait till the end of 2020 when the rift 2 drops
          Total speculation that Rift 2 will ever even happen. Even if it does, it will just be another crappy budget headset because Oculus are just not interested in the high-end market.

          • care package

            He meant number one in market share.
            “SteamVR supports multiple different manufacturers headsets (including Oculus/Rift)”
            This is why many chose the Rift lol. Part of the reason I did, and I ended up rarely even using Steam.

          • JustNiz

            To everyone other than shareholders, market share has little real benefit. The most important thing to affect user experience is the performance of the headset itself, and in that respect the Rift is dead last of the mainstream PC VR headsets, including the OG Vive.

          • care package

            Lmoa. Ok dude. When it gets this silly time to bow out

    • How much will you give me for my Rift 1.0? I have 3 sensors for full room.
      Extra face pads/guards. 15′ powered USB extensions and all the ceiling bungies.

      =)

  • Christian Schildwaechter

    The VR market is so small that the interests of users, developers and manufacturers/platform owners are more closely connected than most people are willing to acknowledge. Developers cannot just decide to build AAA titles, they have to make sure that they can recoup the cost later, requiring a large market. Manufacturers cannot simply decide to release a high end HMD for consumers aimed at enthusiasts, because they need the developers onboard to provide the content that actually sells the platform, which means aiming for a larger, lower end customer base. Users cannot demand game experiences as polished, extensive and similarly priced as non VR titles, because the cost of development has to be spread over fewer buyers.

    Each group can demand that the others pay the early mover price, and we often see demands that AAA titles should be created or high end HMD should be sold to grow the market. That’s like going into a shop, asking them to give you a 50% reduction and telling the seller that they will recoup their losses by selling more in the future. That doesn’t work.

    You can have high end VR. You only have to pay about 2 to 15 times the price of a Rift S, plus a lot more for a high end GPU. You can have high end VR titles. You just have to pay someone for it, which will obviously be rather expensive, as in five to seven figures. Which is the reason why everybody except Sony and Oculus is going for the enterprise market, where a few thousand for the hardware and software costs of five figures and more are often acceptable.

    If you don’t have that kind of money, you can only hope that the market grows fast enough so that developers and manufacturers can spread the cost. So you should want new HMDs to be as usable to the masses as possible, meaning simple setup, low hardware requirements and cheap price.

    The PSVR is the most successful VR HMD by far, the Rift S is going the same route. Which is a wise strategy for anyone outside of enterprise VR. With long upgrade cycles like game consoles developers get a larger audience with comparable hardware configurations, can learn to optimize for these configurations and earn enough money to pay for the next project. And if you wait long enough, the (very expensive) advances of VR technology available to enterprise VR will become cheaper and the next generation of consumer VR will get them. But similar to gaming consoles consumer VR will usually trail high end VR by several years until the next generation is released.

    So before you claim that this is treason, a money grab, plain stupid or something else, consider if you are personally willing to pay the price required to get what you want (not just the hardware), or if you simply expect others to pay your bill. If the latter, maybe try to understand why Oculus released the Rift S instead of the Rift 2.

    • Rudl Za Vedno

      “That’s like going into a shop, asking them to give you a 50% reduction and telling the seller that they will recoup their losses by selling more in the future. That doesn’t work.”

      It does work. That was exactly the growth strategy of Amazon, Uber and Netflix and look at them now. They’re dominating the markets. Just exchange seller for investor and you get Amazon. Build and grow monopoly on credit then milk it dry.

      • daveinpublic

        But it wasn’t one customer that walked into Netflix asking for that. It was Netflix walking up to tons of production houses and saying we’ll pay to fund everything, and then selling it to tons of customers. Right now, it’s a few users telling the companies to spend hundreds of millions on them, and trust them, it will be totally worth it for ya!

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        Banggood and others are cheaper than Amazon, the subway cheaper than Uber, and Bittorrent was free long before Netflix offered streaming subscriptions. Amazon, Uber and Netflix don’t dominate because of price dumping, but because of convenience.

        Yes, they pumped billions by investors into the market in a long term bet that they’d grow so dominant that the economics of scale would provide a pay back. As did many others, a lot of which burned billions during the dot com bubble burst. And the reason why Oculus could even build the Rift S is two billion of Facebook investor money.

        The problem with investors (and developers): at some point they want to see their money back, or at least an perspective, otherwise they will cut their losses. And while Amazon, Netflix and Uber got accepted very fast due to convenience, this isn’t true for consumer VR. So far pretty much everybody is losing money with no signs of a sudden explosion of VR users.

        In 2016 you could sell speculative “future VR growth” to an investor, in 2019 you can’t. Which is the reason why pretty much all new, higher end VR HMDs are labeled as “for business” with a much higher price tag and no promise of any game support at all. If you are lucky they are willing to even sell to consumers without a yearly support contract. And Oculus is actually taking the lesson from Amazon, Netflix and Uber: if you want stickiness, you must cater to the masses with the most convenient solution you can provide.

  • daveinpublic

    “…stickiness drops off steeply outside of that core demographic. Free is still not cheap enough for most people, because cost is not what holds them back actively or passively.”

    Palmer is incorrect, because he doesn’t get the big picture. Just because Palmer made a VR kickstarter a few years ago doesn’t mean he gets the entire VR industry or big business in general. He very willingly sold his ‘baby’ to an ad company because he knew it was a business, and he wanted billions of dollars.

    Free is cheap enough. Cost is holding people back, actively and passively. But the reason people aren’t in VR is not because of the cost, true, but it’s also not because of the hardware. It’s because of the software. And that’s what Facebook is trying to remedy. By selling the most accessible, usable, comfortable, cost effective headsets, they will hopefully increase the audience beyond the PC master race. Cost effective is an important part of that. Is this more expensive? Yes, but they’re probably making a ton more off of this, which makes VR more sustainable for them. They’re investing hundreds of millions of dollars into content to give a few tech savvy and opinionated users a good time. But, by making the best trade offs for the masses and the bottom line, they may still have a shot at getting a big user base, creating a sustainable software ecosystem, and increasing revenue for future investment.

    I was a little underwhelmed by the Rift S, but I think the PC VR audience is much smaller than anyone anticipated. The Rift 2 will get here, but now it’s time to focus on the Quest, and hope that Rift S continues to grow until it comes.

    • Arashi

      I totally disagree, I personally know quite a few wealthy people who I’m sure would buy VR if it just was better. They all tried it and were massively underwhelmed. Well pretty much as I am myself. I do have hope that things will start to get interesting very soon now BOE is test running the production of their new gen 2k*2k OLED full RGB panels, which will hit the streets within a few months.

      • daveinpublic

        You ‘personally’ know ‘quite a few’ people who are ‘wealthy’ who you’re ‘sure’ would buy it if it was ‘just better’. Totally got me there, I can’t refute that.

        • Arashi

          Just saying, it’s not the price that’s holding those people back. It’s just that VR in it’s current state is not interesting to them.

        • dsadas

          he is right though.

      • Rudl Za Vedno

        Who is BOE?

        • Arashi

          A relatively new Chinese OLED manufacturer that’s quickly becoming the biggest worldwide (they’re now the 3rd apple supplier for example). They’ve just completed a whole new fab aimed at VR/AR panels and they’re starting with 2k*2k OLED 120 hz full RGB panels. Those should be available in a few months.

          • Graham J ⭐️

            Wow, interesting, thx.

          • Chris Edwards

            120 hz is what will kill it. Hell todays computers are having a hard time pushing 90 hz. Why do you think Oculus dropped the frame rate from 90hz to 80hz? So the Oculus S could still run on crappy old computers. BOE should shoot for 90hz panels which will need a lot less horsepower.Use those extra frame rates to boost FOV.

      • care package

        What does that say about those who aren’t wealthy who’ve bought into VR? lol.
        I’m sure they have their nice cars and I couldn’t give a shit less about cars.

    • Graham J ⭐️

      I’m not sure about the FB bit, but I agree that software is the issue currently. There are some decent games, but not enough, and not everyone is into games. I got a Vive when it came out and thought that would get me more into gaming, but it didn’t. When I think of doing some VR the main thing that comes to mind is Google Earth. I think there needs to be more focus on non-gaming content.

  • kontis

    The solution to this problem is extremely simple – release TWO headsets:

    – S – low cost, budget device for mass adoption

    – PRO – the same design and tracking, no technological leaps, BUT with highest res screens you can get (2k x 2k per eye?) and wider FOV lenses. TADA! Everyone is happy!

    See, Oculus, it’s that simple. BTW, it worked for the console and smartphone markets.

    • Michael Hill

      They should have just released the Quest with Virtual Link PC support instead of bothering with Rift S. Not only would a PC connected Quest also hit Oculus’s goal of higher res display at the same hardware requirement as Rift, but you also have the promise that if someone can’t afford full PC VR now if they get the Quest it will be ready for them when they can afford a high end PC.

      As for the Rift 2, I don’t think Oculus has to worry about number of adopters with an expensive bleeding edge headset. Not only would it capture the enthusiast crowd but enterprise as well and that market is large and waiting with money ready for something new and groundbreaking.

    • Graham J ⭐️

      Luckily there will soon be a 2k x 2k HMD – the HP Reverb.

      • daveinpublic

        Will the tracking be good enough? I hear some people complaining about not being able to do this or that with inside out. Rift S has it all but solved. WMR?

        • Graham J ⭐️

          Everything seems to point to Reverb tracking being no better than WMR. Whether that’s good enough is going to depend on the user and use case. Many find it fine, others hate it. But the screen res will win over some, especially simmers who aren’t using motion controllers anyway.

        • James Cobalt

          It’s exactly the same as other WMR tracking. Which is to say, it works totally perfectly for 70% of games, just passable for 20%, and not at all in 10%. You can play Beat Saber on Expert+, but you’re going to have a lot of misses. Realistic bow n arrow mechanics are not compatible at all.

          It’s a trade off. $300 for the same visual fidelity and quality head tracking as a Vive Pro, but with not great controller support. Overall I still prefer my Odyssey over my OG Vive.

          • daveinpublic

            I just read an article on beat saber on quest at UploadVR and the and the tracking is awesome. And that’s the quest, with 4 cameras. The rift s has the extra camera in top and the same ai, so it looks like it will be a big difference from wmr.

      • JustNiz

        Yeah, with a massive 114 degrees FOV. That’s a whole 4 more degrees that Rift1/Vive1. I think I’ll keep my Pimax thanks.

        • Graham J ⭐️

          Congratulations.

          Pimaces have about the same PPD as a Vive Pro. The Reverb will up that substantially. Some value PPD over FOV.

  • Rudl Za Vedno

    FB could easily R&D Rift S alongside Rift 2. Rift S for the masses to grow the market and Rift 2 for enthusiasts like NVidia has done it with it’s overpriced RTX 2080TI. Not doing so shows me that FB is not interested in PC VR market at all. They gave us Rift S to shut up basically. It’s a good PR move, nothing else. I wouldn’t be surprised if PC based Rift 2 project gets canceled all together in a year or two and we get only Quest 2 instead.

    • HybridEnergy

      Lets face it, I’m just going to go out and honestly say what these companies are really hurt by and what their constant target is. The target for if you are Oculus, or EA, or EPIC, heck even HTC now with viveport or anyone isn’t a single selling unit hardware or one game/software that sells well…it’s the constant insane flow of cash that STEAM has shown to have. STEAM is the villain now, the Juggernaut they all want to be.

      • FireAndTheVoid

        Don’t forget the Apple app store. Apple takes the same 30% cut that Steam takes. It’s a cash cow.

      • JustNiz

        What you’re forgetting is that without Valve’s investment, VR would look far more of a mess right now. Thanks to Valve we have a common VR architecture that nearly everyone except Oculus now use.

        • HybridEnergy

          I’m not forgetting, I wasn’t trash talking them. I love Steam and Valve. I was just saying that this is the case scenario, they are using the VR market to go after STEAM. Even HTC is trying to unplug from Valve and go Viveport.

          • JustNiz

            Viveport is basically dead in the water. HTC are doing all they can just to get people to create an account on it.

  • Mike1304

    Good article! I‘m one of the disappointed enthusiasts.
    I have no need for Rift-S.
    I‘m huge fan and supporter of VR and want bigger FOV, eyetracking which allows higher resolution at useful performance and USB-C-support!
    I think Oculus will loose it‘s hardcore VR-fanbase. They will switch to other VR headsets (Pimax…).

    • Rosko

      They need to hint at an upcoming rift Pro at F8 to calm the fans down.

    • jumane

      Smh y do people keep saying eye track allows for high resolution. It doesn’t foveated rendering is what does it just works well with eye tracking. So except for the eye tracking it all done via software which oculus already has worked into the oculus runtime. U guys on here been saying how oculus keep making these mistakes yet they are currently the number 1 pc hmd( from the info that we have). Just have faith they are bringing content and that all that matters

      • dsadas

        dumbass it’s basically all and the same.

        • jumane

          No it’s not the same thing. U can have foveated rendering without eye tracking just look at the go and quest it’s built into its gpu. And eye tracking can be use to get around menus in vr which is what the htc vive pro+ do most unless u r connected to a supporting nvidia card cause htc partner with nvidia for foveated rendering. So if u have an amd gpu the eye tracking is just for menus. We want both and we want it built into the api oculus is already doing this

          • Baldrickk

            Fixed foveated rendering? Urgh. Last thing anyone wants is for timings to go blurry because you’re not looking directly at them with your face.

            Eye tracking & foveated rendering is what is needed

          • I agree they go great together. I’m just saying people need to stop saying eye tracking as if it automatically did foveated rendering those who don’t know better with be setup for disappointment..

          • Foveated rendering is easy to do. It’s done already, proof with fixed Foveated rendering already implemented into some headsets. Key is Eye tracking which will unlock full power.

          • correct

        • TJ Studio

          See? That’s why you need to leave the internet for good. It’s because you’re toxic because that’s your nature!

  • superdonkey

    if they can get the rift s down to $299 it would be an ok setup especially as the oculus go lenses / panel does work fairly well with my 71mm ipd.

    personally, now ive got pimax 5k+ theres no going back to binocular vr

    • James Cobalt

      All VR is binocular unless you’re blind in one eye.

  • zflorence1

    I believe this article is correct, however, Oculus/FB needs to still compete in the premium PC market (the only market that existed for CV1 ironically) because that will continue to strengthen them as a technologically superior brand even to the casual market. It can only help their brand identity to release a Rift 2 at $599 that offers a truly next generation experience even before that kind of stuff could make it into a cheaper product. I’m thinking of eye tracking and foveated rendering, which would be extremely useful to the Quest’s limited hardware. Build tech like that out first in the premium market before it trickles down.

  • Rudl Za Vedno

    I believe FB was shocked over slow adoption rate of VR just as much as MS was, so try to push lowest common denominator strategy down our throats to speed up the process and they will most likely fail. Three years is nothing. PC market needed nearly a decade of constant innovation and price threshold reductions to attract the masses. Todays VR is nowhere near good enough to attract the masses. Even me diehard fan and early adopter of VR would already given up on it if it weren’t for sims like Elite Dangerous Dirt and IL2 that still WOW me every time I enter VR world.

    • daveinpublic

      Rift S looks pretty good. Seems like it would be comfortable, less light leakage, great lenses, resolution seems good, controllers are good. Why is that not good enough? I feel like this is something I might pick up when it eventually goes on sale. Plus it has great tracking that doesn’t need any external beacons or extra USB ports, that’s one of the biggest upgrades to me. Could potentially take it on vacation with the right laptop.

      • HybridEnergy

        but all the positives you have mentioned they are already available on the very affordable Windows Mixed Reality headsets. This headset you want is already available for a while.

        • daveinpublic

          People complain about WMR tracking. Shouldn’t be a problem with the 5 camera insight tracking.

          • HybridEnergy

            Maybe the 5th camera will cover certain blind spots but from the hands on articles so far they all mention the inside/out tracking jitters are still there. It’s Lenovo, it’s the same tech.

          • daveinpublic

            Technically it’s a different tracking system. Oculus uses IR cameras, and has it’s own AI and software for tracking.

          • MeowMix

            Rift-S uses Oculus Insight Tracking.

            Both WMR and Rift-S are Insight Out, but the tracking tech are different

          • Dark Avry

            This is from arstechnica

            Oculus Rift S combines crucial upgrades that, even in its preview state, may make it my new number-one choice for “consumer grade” PC VR. First up: those built-in sensors. After a full hour of testing the Rift S in multiple demos, it’s clear that it does a noticeably better job tracking my head and hands within a virtual environment than Oculus Rift’s external cameras ever did. And it never crapped out when I rolled the wired-VR dice or whipped around like a goofball.

          • Trenix

            I call BS unless he didn’t have a three sensor setup and kept his two sensors facing him. Just with two sensors, one at the bottom left the other top right, I had no issues in tracking with the original rift. The fact that inside-out tracking has no camera to track the back of players, means it will never compare. For Inside-out tracking to be optimal, you will need more cameras which means higher costs and heavier headset.

            Not the future anytime soon. You’re better off calling the Rift S as the best mixed reality headset.

          • Dark Avry

            You think you know better then someone who tested it in different games?
            How about we wait till it comes out and get more reviews and then see, this is what we have right now.

            P.S. It has no Back camera but it has Top camera.

            This is from UploadVR

            When we tried Asgard’s Wrath, controller tracking was very fluid and we were even able to reach behind our back to grab the shield. When we played Stormland, we were able to grab a part of a wall behind us to shoot in the opposite direction while hanging.

            The controllers are essentially identical to the original Oculus Touch, but with the tracking ring on the top instead of bottom. This lets the IR LEDs inside the rings be seen by the headset. These exact same controllers are used on Quest.

          • Trenix

            I will most likely purchase the headset and test it myself, but I’m definitely more disappointed than excited. We’ll see how it goes. If I don’t like it, I’ll return it.

          • HybridEnergy

            Good news then on the tracking side

      • Rudl Za Vedno

        Because all of that could be already bought for $249/299 in form of Odyssey and Odyssey+. Plus you get manual IPD adjustment, OLED higher res screens, little wider FOV, granted with little worse tracking and some ergonomic gambles.

        • care package

          I’ve read the Odyssey isn’t that great. Fits like shit. Plus it’s a different ecosystem. Oh, and plus it’s still gen 1 WMR 2 camera tracking. Oh and plus it’s $600.

          • FireAndTheVoid

            I think the point that Rudl Za Vedno is trying to make is, Oculus is targeting the market segment that hasn’t yet bought into VR. These aren’t enthusiasts who they are targeting. Maybe only a small percentage even understand the difference between Windows MR and Oculus or the nuances of their differing inside-out tracking tech. These are casuals or parents looking to buy their kid a gift for Christmas. If they didn’t already purchase a very affordable Windows MR headset for $200-$300, they aren’t going to buy a Rift S for $400.

          • care package

            I doubt randam christmas presents are even a significant part of PCVR sales, maybe PSVR, and what you said didn’t make sense to me. “if they DIDN’T already purchase a very affordable Windows MR headset…,they AREN’T going to buy a Rift S for $400”. Why wouldn’t they?

          • FireAndTheVoid

            Of course some people will buy the Rift S for the Oculus brand or for the Oculus exclusives or because they want something better than the CV1. My point is that I don’t expect them to attract an appreciable number of new customers.

        • MeowMix

          WMR has 2 cameras (much less tracking volume) vs Rift-S and it’s 5 cameras.

          WMR tracking volume is just substandard.

        • Cybis Z

          Manual IPD adjuster that only goes down to a minimum of 63mm and significantly worse controller tracking (unless the controllers are directly in front of you, of course). I mean, WTF were they thinking making the *minimum* IPD range of their headset the population’s *average*? Not to mention its tiny sweet spot which makes it so difficult to get a clear view in both eyes at the same time, which I always struggled with.

    • Beat Saber is my jam and what got me to finally pull the trigger. That and $350 price drop on Rift 1.0. That being said I am a VR forever nerd now.

      But, IL2? Yeah, you got that right. And it wow’s me on the Rift.
      Got my 90 year old dad to play it…he was almost in tears. It’s amaze-balls.

    • dsadas

      yeah. I mean just imagine for a second how elite dangerous is going to be when we have headsets that are at least 140 fov and 4k per eye.

  • mfx

    Every company that fucks up and fails at delivering what customers wanted have the same speech about blaaa blaaa you’re too stupid to understand why it’s actually good decision for you and the future… we are plenty happy with our decision even you stupid sheep can’t yet understand why… Yep but the money transfer, it’s customer decision only. And mine is a straight NO.

  • MW

    I’m not buying. Everything about this topic. Bye.

  • zflorence1

    A true Gen 2 HMD package today would probably run you anywhere from $1000 – $1500 depending on the brand and build quality. That would include Inside-Out Tracking, Controllers, better sound, 140 – 170 FOV OLED 2k per eye, and eye tracking. Just my rough estimate looking at price variances between technologies.

  • zflorence1

    A true Gen 2 HMD package today would probably run you anywhere from $1000 – $1500 depending on the brand and build quality. That would include Inside-Out Tracking, Controllers, better sound, high res 140 – 170 FOV OLED, and eye tracking. Just my rough estimate looking at price variances between technologies.

  • Rosko

    I think this headset will allow them to release a better higher spec Rift 2 aimed at enthusiasts because the S will cover the lower spec PC. The article is correct. I don’t think facebook did a good job of communicating this but it makes total sense now that this headset has the go panels.

    • MeowMix

      There’s a rumor of a “Rift Pro” launching next year

      • Rosko

        Well It makes sense to have 2 tiers rather than try & stretch one product. I really hope so.

    • MosBen

      I mean, they don’t want to talk about a future product while they’re in the midst of launching their current product. I fully expect them to start talking more about Half Dome (or some other prototype) at Oculus Connect this year, then having it show up at conventions for a while, and then doing a full launch of the Rift 2 (or whatever it’s called) in Q1 2021.

  • Lucidfeuer

    FFS don’t they have any scrutiny or after-thoughts left about their executive and marketing advisors just MAYBE being absolute quantitative dumb-fucks?

    I get it, theyir goal is not to sell products but to speculate on the asset values of these, but would the difference for mid-term valuation be that big had they made Oculus Quest and Rift S the same product, which from a pure marketing and commercial standpoint was OF-COURSE the way to go instead of fragmentation and redundancy.

    Wouldn’t that in fact have been an incentive for significantly more sales and therefor actually more derived values? I swear these corporations are completely fucking lost and despite being hands tied by investors leeches, they’re the ones who chose to hire stupid blue collar bachelors/carreerist who have no vision, no understand of the qualitative index of growth or valuation and therefor meaningless strategies for value creation (real or speculative)…

  • vtid

    CV1 user here – I LOVE the Rift but I’m keen for even a slight upgrade after 3 years, and not having to replace the hmd for the same fault each year would be nice. Obviously I’m not getting a Rift S, and what I really struggle to understand is who their target audience is for the Rift S. If I were new to VR, and was happy to spend $400 (I still think that’s way too high for new adopters unless they’re already sure what they’re getting into) then I would definitely buy a Quest over a Rift S. The Quest (which I’ve also no reason to purchase-although it looks a quality product tbf) looks like the perfect product to increase the VR user-base – It’s standalone and tetherless etc. Nobody needs to buy a PC or upgrade a current PC in order to play or fanny around with wires and sensors and it looks smart; Convenience really appeals to those getting into a newer technology. Quest seems like a great package for what it is. But who is the Rift S aimed at, apart from devs? I presume they’re cutting costs by swapping out for cheaper parts, but why bother continuing down this Rift route when the Quest is coming out also?! Nobody will buy the Rift S imo so it just feels like a massive waste. It feels like because FB know we were originally expecting a Rift 2 at some stage, they felt they had to give us enthusiasts SOMETHING, but surely they knew they couldn’t convince us that this is anything but a downgrade on the Rift (depite Nate Thingymabob trying to do so in that cringworthy video of him being interviewed about Rift S with a massive fake grin on his face; pretending the hmd is great.

    It seems like they should have concentrated their time and money on marketing their products like Quest so that people outside of VR actually HEAR ABOUT IT and take interest, instead of continuing to manufacture some half-ass hmd that will likely appeal to nobody whatsoever. The Quest sounds truely marketable (but not truely remarkable), although I do think selling at $350 (not $400) would make a big difference in sales. Perhaps they could have saved money by not completing the Rift S and using that money for marketing the Quest and selling it slightly cheaper.

    • impurekind

      Yeah, I think the main problem with the Rift S is that the Quest now exists so it makes a PC VR headset like the S a bit redundant. If the S had actually been the Rift 2 and was proper next-gen VR jump, say 4K+ resolution and getting up to near 200 degrees field of view at 90Hz+, even if it cost more, then I think that would have made sense. Then you’d have three very clear Oculus VR headset tiers: The low-end and cheap Go, the mid-range and mid-price Quest, and the high-end and higher-price Rift 2. But right now it’s more like Oculus has the low-end and cheap Go, and then two mid-range and mid-price headsets but offering slightly different experiences–and I think in most cases the Quest is going to win out over the Rift S for most consumers. And anyone else looking for PC VR probably already has the normal Rift anyway. So, yeah, I don’t really see too much of a place for Rift S. But, having said that, simply because it is still a bit more powerful than Quest and has access to the full Rift games/apps library, even I am still have trying to decide if I’d rather get a Quest or a Rift out of the two options. For new buyers though, surely the Quest is pretty much a no-brainier as the better all-round option of the two just for pure convenience and ease of use.

      • vtid

        If I had to choose between a Quest and a Rift S then I’d go with the Quest. It’d compliment the CV1 nicely when I can’t be bothered to set up my space or just want to jump straight into an app that doesn’t require PC power. However I couldn’t justify throwing $400 into another hmd if it’s not going to be the best hmd I own.

    • MosBen

      Think about it this way, prior to stock running out, people were still buying the Rift. Indeed, sales continued to be solid, though not amazing. Is it possible that people who would have bought a Rift are now going to buy a Quest instead? Sure, but the S allows them to keep store shelves stocked while spending less per unit to produce them. And if the combined Rift S + Quest sales are greater than the prior Rift sales, then that’s just a bigger VR audience for developers to make things for.

      • vtid

        Yes, I agree re: stocking shelves with a cheaper build hmd to make more profit, but i still struggle to see who would buy a Rift S, and thus make it a worthwhile product decision for FB/Oculus. Those with Rift mostly won’t buy it, and those without will head towards the Quest (imo) for convenience. I don’t see a market for the Rift S, and the money saved in production and pre-production of this product could have given the Quest a much better chance on the market; with the potential to lower the consumer cost also.

        • MosBen

          Like I said, people were continuing to buy the Rift before now, so there’s some group of people who have or are willing to build a gaming PC in order to use VR. The Quest, as cool as it is, is going to be pretty significantly under powered compared to a gaming PC, even one running at the Rift’s minimum specs. So the answer to the question of “who will buy the Rift S?” is “People who are were otherwise in the market for a PC-based VR system.”

          I think that some potential Rift purchasers will go for the Quest, but not all, and maybe after playing with the Quest for a while some people will want to take a dive into the higher end Rift ecosystem.

          We’ll see. Maybe the Rift S will languish on shelves while the Quest flies off them and the S will see a price cut to sell out of existing stock just like the Rift did. Or maybe the hobby will grow and there will be a market for both to succeed.

          • vtid

            I agree with you in part, but I still think those potential Rift purchasers would be savvy enough to know that if the only Oculus PC-VR option is the ultimately downgraded Rift S, then they might look elsewhere to a 2nd hand Rift, a Quest, a WMR hmd or even a Vive. But we don’t know this yet.

          • MosBen

            I just don’t agree that the Rift S is downgraded. From what I’ve read it seems like the areas in which there is a technical downgrade (80hz) aren’t noticeable enough to matter for the vast majority of people, while it has a number of areas with modest improvements, like the bumped resolution. We’ll see, of course, but I would expect the Rift S to continue selling where the CV1 is, just a bit cheaper to make.

    • Cybis Z

      WTF? How does the Quest compete with the Rift? You’ll be limited to Quest-specific games. No Skyrim or Fallout VR, no Doom or Talos Principle or Elite:Dangerous. I just read an article that Medium will *not* be ported to the Quest due to being too demanding on the hardware. You’re stuck with *only* the games that were written specifically for the Quest.

      • vtid

        Quest definitely doesn’t compete with the original Rift. If you mean Rift ‘S’, then yes of course Rift S is a more powerful beast than the Quest. I’m not sure what you mean.

      • vtid

        I’ve had the Rift for 3 years so I’m saying I wouldn’t swap that for the Quest or the Rift S. But, if I was brand new to VR and I just wanted something easy to set up and convenient, and wasn’t particularly bothered about playing the top AAA games, I would head for the Quest over the Rift S. But I’m not brand new to VR, so I want the very best in VR that my PC can handle. I’m just saying how I think I’d feel if I hadn’t already had CV1.

  • impurekind

    OK, this makes sense now that I know this is basically just the replacement and slightly newer and tweaked model of the current Rift, so sticking with the three-tier approach of the low-end and cheap Go, the mid range and standalone Quest, and the “high end” PC VR that is Rift. Good, because I was starting to worry you might be pulling a bit of a “Vive” and confusing/convoluting things a bit–but that’s not the case. Hopefully that means a proper Rift 2 won’t be too many years off too, for those people who are really looking forward to that.

    • MosBen

      Based on how long Santa Cruz was around before officially becoming the Quest, I’m betting that we start to see more Half Dome (or something replacing it) demos at shows for the next year, and then at Oculus Connect 2020 they’ll announce a Rift 2 (or whatever name) for a release at F8 2021.

      • impurekind

        Sounds about right. And in the meantime the Rift S is their “high end” PC VR headset for now.

    • JustNiz

      You put the Rift S in a “high end” category when it actually has the exactly the same lenses and screen as your “low end and cheap” category Go. It’s clear that Oculus do not even make a “high end” headset.

      • impurekind

        Well this is why I specifically put it in the “high end” (air quotes intentional) category and not the high end category. It’s Oculus’ current “high end” PC VR headset but it’s not exactly cutting-edge in many ways. The Rift 2 will surely be its next proper high end VR headset, but given that the Rift S is now a thing, I don’t think we’ll see that for at least a year or two now.

  • There is no HMD I want now. Not a single one. SteamVR has no Touch like controllers, WMR is still in alpha and Oculus, my last hope of showing how amazing their R&D are have faced the other way and gone budget. This leaves me in limbo, I will just enjoy my Rift until I don’t then I guess I will just stop using VR. Sad.

    • impurekind

      Pimax? 4K-8K, around 200 degrees field of view, 90fps, plays both Steam VR and Oculus games . . .

      Is that not an option for you if you’re looking for a consumer VR headset that’s basically about as good as it gets right now?

      • Unless Valve or even Pimax launch knuckle controllers then no. Wands do not do it for me. Also I am giving Pimax a good 6 months to iron out all the niggles like build quality, PiTool maturity etc.

        • Tailgun

          Pimax is where I’m heading now, too. But I’m holding out for those same reasons: knuckles controllers with a Touch layout and proof of long-term build quality (not to mention them just getting the damn things out and delivered!).

        • dk

          getting the knuckles controllers is not that hard right ….and use them with whatever headset u want

        • impurekind

          The Pimax comes with what is basically the Knuckles controller. It has all the same features: Strap; full finger sensing of all fingers; all the other controls you’d find on either a Vive controller or Touch controller (depending on the model you choose); etc.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        That’s $600 (excluding tax etc) for the headset only, so no controllers, no tracking, nothing.. And that’s the 5K+, the 5K XR is $899

        • impurekind

          Well you have to pay for the cutting edge, which is what you seem to be looking for–here it is.

    • MosBen

      I mean, that’s not a terrible place to be. I too have a Rift, and I too eagerly anticipate upgrading at some point, but I also want VR as a medium to succeed, so I’m willing to wait a bit longer for the real next generation of HMDs to come out. When the first generation of HMDs was being discussed one of the major players gave an interview in which they said that in their view VR generations would be longer than phones, but perhaps shorter than console generations. It’s looking like things are going to shake out closer to a console generation than a phone generation, but perhaps that length will shrink as VR catches on.

      I’m just really crossing my fingers on the Quest and hoping that it jumstarts a lot of VR software development.

    • JustNiz

      You obviously haven’t tried a Pimax 5k+ yet.

  • WyrdestGeek

    Good article.

  • Adderstone VR

    Is there no way of making a high res HMD with an option to run at lower res and perhaps 80Hz if you don’t have the hardware to drive it? We do this with 4K screens and all other games.
    Then a newcomer to VR can get a good HMD, and run it at min specs until he/she is able to upgrade their GPU.
    In flat screen gaming, if my GPU can’t push a game at 4K above 60Hz I make some sacrifices…I play at 1080p or lower the graphics quality. But I don’t buy a 1080p 60Hz screen, that would be a pretty poor investment.
    If we could do this, people can get a chance to try VR knowing that it is THEIR hardware that is making the experience “less than” it should be. They will save and upgrade their hardware when they can. But now we are giving shitty HMDs to people so they can have the same shitty experience and then think “this is the very very newest shit, this must be as good as it gets”

    • Andrew Jakobs

      It’s not a problem to make high res HMD’s.. Nope no problem at all.. BUT it comes at a high cost, as those chips used for processing the video and the displays themselves are pretty costly. That’s why headsets who have higher res displays are so expensive. And the problem is, those displays and chips will be superseded very soon and the headset will be very out of date due to the chips and displays not good enough for actually when the GPU’s are at a reasonable price to drive these headsets.
      It’s all about price. Regular consumers don’t have highend GPU’s, and therefore only a very small ammount of people will actually buy an $800+ HMD.
      Once the GPU’s are down to $200-$300 which would be capable of running an 4K per eye high FOV headset (and don’t come with Foveated rendering, because that’s not the holy grale, you’d rather want native) without a hitch, it’ll be interesting for a facebook to put out headsets at a pricepoint of $399 which is about the highest price a regular consumer would want to pay. It’ll take a few years before we are at that point..

      • Adderstone VR

        So….you’re saying that Samsung, LG and Asus are wasting their time producing 34″ ultrawide 4K+ screens at $1500, cause nobody buys those?
        High Res HMDs at least would let you watch movies and read text in proper sharpness, then for demanding games you can set the res lower, until you save up for a decent GPU

        • Andrew Jakobs

          It’s still one screen that the GPU has to power, not 2. And those 34″ ultrawide screens are also very interesting for at the office, so the audience is much larger. In regard to gamers, the group that actually would buy those screens aren’t really interesting enough to make a buck.. It’s all about price and the target. And in the end we’ll get there, but not this year for a real consumer price. If you really want a nextgen HMD, you’ll have to go to the smaller companies, and have to dig very deep into your pockets to get those.. $1500 doesn’t get you there..

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      You can already do this with Asynchronous Spacewarp/ASW (Oculus) or Motion Smoothing (SteamVR), where every second frame is generated by interpolating from the previous one, therefore only having to render 45 FPS. You can also force a lower render resolution in SteamVR, and many games have quality settings for shadows etc., further reducing GPU performance requirements. That’s why it is even possible to use the Rift with a GTX 1050Ti.

      And while Rift and Vive render at higher than display resolution and sample down the resulting image to improve sharpness, the mobile VR versions like Gear VR and Oculus go have always rendered at lower than native resolution, e.g. 1024p instead of 1440p, then use the upscale units of mobile GPUs plus MSAA to achieve the higher end resolutions. This works pretty well for edges and geometry, not so good for textures.

      So if you want to, you can go ahead and buy a HP Reverb for USD 600 and run it at the same render resolution as the current generation. The image might even be better due to less SDE and pretty good upscaling in modern GPUs. And later, when you can afford the USD 1200 RTX 2080 TI you’ll probably need to drive the 3.6 times amount of pixels the Reverb has compared to CV1, you might get actually get decent 2K per eye performance. (Unless you want to play Fallout 4 VR, in which case you’ll have to wait for at least one more GPU release cycle.)

      You probably won’t save any money. It would be more effective to buy a current gen HMD right now and sell it again once you can afford a high end HMD plus the matching GPU, which by the time will have become cheaper anyway.

  • Gary001

    My top 5 desires for VR are:

    1) Eye-tracking / Foveated Rendering
    2) Wider FOV
    3) Better Resolution
    4) Inside-Out Tracking
    5) Wireless

    Numbers 2 & 3 are not really possible without 1 and the technology is just not ready yet. Those all go hand-in-hand and should comprise a real Rift 2. Improved optics and taking care of #4 are really good, though. It’s a nice step in the right direction and ease of use will definitely help adoption rates and hopefully encourage developers to make compelling content (without which nothing else really matters).

    • dsadas

      FOV has nothing to do with 1…

      • Gary001

        Of course it does. To avoid insane hardware requirements, you can’t have a wider FOV until you develop the technology to sharply render only where the user is looking and not the entire FOV.

  • shmulzi

    i think they are making the right move. what they should be doing is diverting most resources to software – making there platform better and more approchable – and kick first party games to a higher gear. what will make VR is still a killer app, its just nobody has come up with it yet.

  • Unimpressed

    I think Oculus/Facebook see Quest as their main product going forward, not Rift. They intentionally kept Rift S’ specs mediocre so it wouldn’t steal Quest’s thunder. How disappointing.

  • Cl

    As much as I’m disappointed in this, if I were to be in the market for a hmd right now I would probably get the rift s.

    I have a vive and it is good, but I really dont like the controllers. I hate the USB sensors the og rift has so I didnt really consider it. Pimax seems to have some issues. Not interested in wmr.

    Now if valve would come up with their rumored hmd I would be all over it. Love the knuckles, supposed better fov and resolution, 2ng gen lighthouse which I like because I only plan to use it in one room anyway. Maybe they are changing their tracking system though and that’s why it’s taking so long to release? Hurry up valve were all waiting on you!

    • Dark Avry

      I waited for gen2 PCVR and since there is nothing better right now ill get the RiftS during end of year sale craze 300 usd should be good enough.

      Since sony moves soon to ps5, ill sell my PSVR2 kit which is brand new never used it, i had PSVR1 that i used but when i sold it an got the ver2 for some reason forgot about it, i i sell it i should get enough money to buy RiftS.

      Also people that played with S, say the tracking is betetr then RIft1

      This is from arstechnica

      Oculus Rift S combines crucial upgrades that, even in its preview state, may make it my new number-one choice for “consumer grade” PC VR. First up: those built-in sensors. After a full hour of testing the Rift S in multiple demos, it’s clear that it does a noticeably better job tracking my head and hands within a virtual environment than Oculus Rift’s external cameras ever did.

      And it never crapped out when I rolled the wired-VR dice or whipped around like a goofball.

    • Chris Edwards

      Yeah, it would be nice if Valve would at least let us know they are still working on it and a possible launch date. Hell as far as we know they may have scrapped the plan.

  • Dark Avry

    This is from arstechnica

    Oculus Rift S combines crucial upgrades that, even in its preview state, may make it my new number-one choice for “consumer grade” PC VR. First up: those built-in sensors.
    After a full hour of testing the Rift S in multiple demos, it’s clear that it does a noticeably better job tracking my head and hands within a virtual environment than Oculus Rift’s external cameras ever did.
    And it never crapped out when I rolled the wired-VR dice or whipped around like a goofball

  • Sanfaber

    It’s a suitable enough of an upgrade for me. I wouldn’t throw $400 at it but I will for around $100 since I should be able to sell my CV1 with a third sensor for around $300

    Replace 3 sensors/cabling for inside out tracking? Tick
    ‘Reasonable’ bump up in resolution and clarity? Tick
    Passthrough? Tick
    No need to upgrade my GTX1080? Tick

    All of this worth a hundred bucks or so? No brainer

    • Trenix

      No need to upgrade my GTX1080? Tick

      I highly doubt that if they kept the refresh rate of 90Hz, that you’d be required to upgrade your graphics card. Pimax 5k plus has a higher resolution than the rift s with a 90Hz refresh rate and only requires a GTX 1070 minimum.

      Also…

      Bulkier headset? Tick
      Heavier headset? Tick
      No headphones included? Tick
      Mix reality type controllers? Tick
      Poorer tracking? Tick
      Light required? Tick

  • jumane

    After reading the comments below i got to say this article is right on point. I have always come at this not as a big fan of vr buy just a guy who likes to try the newest and greatest thing. So i was never in love with it all i switch back between 2d gaming and vr gaming it all depends on the games.

    Now with that said i own a rift and plan to buy the rift s cause i see it in the same way i see a xbox one s. I am glad they didn’t pull a htc and gave us some expensive new overly teched out hmd woth no content for it. U have developers closing or switching from doing vr games so another more expensive hmd is not the way to go. The quest and the fact all quest games will be playable on rift crossed play and buy. Oculus is creating a bigger user base to get my devs in so we’ll have more aaa developers making game when the rift 2 drop end of 2020

  • Grey Lock

    For me, the Rift S is DOA. Why spend $400 on 2017 resolution? The higher resolution and headphone equipped Odyssey+ can be found on sale for $300. Here’s hoping Vive Cosmos or the Valve HMD will be a true upgrades from my CV1.

    • Chris Edwards

      If Odyssey had great inside tracking and controllers I would consider it. Resolution is not everything.

      • James Cobalt

        It has great inside-out tracking for the HMD. The controller tracking is what’s lacking. I have better head tracking on my Odyssey than I did with my Vive. So for a certain type of user, Odyssey is a killer deal.

  • ¥DK¥

    They got it all wrong, I’m sure TONS of people are waiting for a good HMD to enter VR.
    Most of my friends are in that exact position, and so am I, just waiting for a real HMD that’s worth my investment.
    Oculus is starting to look like Intel, delaying products and releasing something “new” just to make money… I’ve lost my faith in this company…

    I have access to a CV1 from a friend, but buying one is out of the question…
    As a gameDev, IMO Farifocal displays and Foveated rendering are THE most important features you can have for VR, we need them desperately, that and more FoV :P
    Until then there’s no HMD that’s going to get me in.

    Meanwhile you look at HTC Vive, they got those knuckles coming soon enough, and talks to add eye-tracing through a module, other companies exploring light-fields and other types of displays, some looking into real 3D positional audio…

  • Zephyr0o

    People are over-reacting. It’s only been 3 years, it’s too soon for Rift 2. Enthusiasts will always want the next big thing now, even a week after buying the previous next biggest thing. They’re crazy, that’s why they’re so enthusiastic, lol.

    If FB release Rift 2 now, they run the risk of market confusion and making people think they’re on some 2-3 year cycle for the generation of their product. It would also make people see the current library and upcoming games for it as obsolete.

    That makes your average consumer scared of a $400+ purchase. Why buy Rift 2 now for $599 or more when 3 releases in 2-3 years? Normal people won’t do that. People will skip VR generations like they do phones. Consoles show that you can get away with 6 year generations with a mid-gen refresh.

    This is what they are doing. VR has more in common with consoles than PC because a hmd is not something you can upgrade piecemeal, therefore consumers will want a spot of longevity from its usage. If you are too impatient to wait until 2020 or more likely 2021 or 2 for Rift 2 than fine buy something else, but you’re far too impatient.

    • dz11

      I don’t remember Sony or Microsoft releasing a crappy version of their console in case it causes “market confusion”.

  • ale bro

    a wireless module would have rescued this launch

  • michel

    For all the hate against the Rift S here on display, I just wanted to say that I would probably be interested in buying one. I was planning to buy one 3 years ago, but was a bit bowled over by the price.
    Now, with 2 controllers included, inside-out tracking (so no USB hassle) and much, much less screen door effect , Rift S seems to be a product I want.
    Now, I never used ‘real’ VR before(Rift, Vive, PSVR), just Gear VR. Gear VR was a blast for the first 2 years but seems to have died a bit now. I’m ready for the next step and think that a Rift S connected to my i7 with GForce GTX 980 will be a better experience than the mobile chip-powered Quest.

    • Trenix

      Controllers have been included for quite some time already and inside-out tracking still comes with a cable. If you haven’t had a “real VR headset” before, then you have no idea on what you’re missing out on.

    • It depends, If you less technical and more of a casual type of user then I will say Quest is definitly better than Rift S.

  • antonio mora

    I bought a rift in 2016 and then got the touch when they came out. I do not regret my purchase at all but I wont be buying another HMD for the next 2 or 3 years no matter what the specs are. Meanwhile as I just recently upgraded to 1080 ti from a 1060 and I’m having a blast with DCS, American Truck Sim,FO4, ED, PC2 etc, they just look beautiful

  • Gary001

    The problem with VR is entirely related to a lack of content. Everybody I’ve demoed the Rift for is blown away – not one single person has ever complained about the optics, or the resolution, or the FOV. It’s pretty spectacular technology as is. The problem is that 99% of what’s on the Steam store is crap. There are some cool experiences but a few good minutes or even a few good hours only go so far. It’s been 3 years and I can count on one hand how many actual compelling games that I’ve spent serious time on (10+ hours). Developers are not investing time in making VR content because not enough people own it – it’s as simple as that. Cutting edge hardware that is extremely expensive to buy or extremely expensive to run (in terms of computing power) won’t change that dynamic. Anything Oculus can do to expand the user base (and a low price-point and simplified setup certainly achieves that goal) is time and money well-spent.

  • mellott124

    Just tried it at GDC. It’s a nice HMD. Not next gen in anyway. Visually resolution is better. Some fixed pattern issues. I see red and blue bleed on edges. Black levels suffer compared to OLED. Tracking was butter smooth. If I was going to buy a rift I’d be happy this one is decent but I wouldn’t upgrade from a Rift to a Rift S. Just not worth it. I think Quest will be the more atttractive buy.

    While waiting three hours in line to try it, it crashed three times and needed three Oculus people to come fix it. Says a lot about why Quest will have wider appeal to the non techie.

  • RFC

    Very interesting seeing the reaction to the Oculus
    Rift S announcement.

    We can spend all day arguing about headset technical specifications, but ultimately all that matters is compelling content, and that means incredibly compelling content, the kind of content that is addictive, engaging and sparks massive ramp up due to word of mouth…

    VR is in direct competition with well established and heavily monetised content providers, serving large user bases whether its cable, television, internet, smartphone, console or pc gaming.

    I have a PC with a heavily over clocked processor (8086K @5.4ghz) and top end GPU (RTX2080Ti), I find myself revisiting classic PC games because having exhausted the best content in PC VR (using Oculus Rift, Lenovo WMR and Vive Pro) there isn’t enough compelling content to keep me engaged.

    Outside of gaming, Netflix and Hollywood studios are vying for my limited leisure time and are winning at the moment, their content is very compelling.

    As an early adopter(1991), VR enthusiast and ergonomics specialist who has consulted with VR companies I am sold on immersive computing as the next computing platform. However, we need a critical mass (user base) to attract the AAA developers required for that compelling content.

    Chicken and egg situation? New headsets are nice, but content is king, and desperately required to retain eyeballs.

    • James Cobalt

      oooo what was your VR involvement in 1991?! I didn’t get into the scene until ’95 when consumer headsets started releasing. Wasn’t the stuff before that for research and the military? Do tell!

  • dz11

    I don’t remember Apple releasing crap iPhone models when they were “building their ecosystem”.

    • James Cobalt

      But do you remember them not including an app store, copy + paste functionality, 3G connectivity that was widely-available on other phones, et al all for the sake of “nailing the basics” first?

      Not to defend Oculus/FB on this super weird product direction, but perhaps they justify it as a “reset”. I think, as far as corporate heads are concerned, this is the real 1st gen product that they will build off of going forward. Problem seems to be that it’s a bit too late for a 1st gen product.

  • Grzegorz Wereszko

    Well seems that the new HP Reverb is my next headset.. It ticks all the marks, and even looks like an Oculus 2

    • James Cobalt

      Curious what your marks are. I don’t regret selling my Vive for an Odyssey, but my next headset will have to have better controller tracking than this. It’s serviceable for Gen 1, but Reverb has exactly the same tracking. Also no hardware IPD in Reverb, so while it would work for me, my SO would be SOL. :-/

      • Grzegorz Wereszko

        Well for me the view of Rift S is quite a dissapointing improvement over Rift 1. Barely improved screens, just barely inline with Microsoft Mixed Reality headsets from last two years.

        Also the IPD adjustment is gone, and the sound is more or less .. useless.

        The Reverb, in comparison looks a tad bettter in all aspects (on paper at least) and even looks like a Rift headset.

        For now I’m sticking with My Rift until Reverb drops in price a tad, or there will be another worthwihile successor to Rift.

        Rift S, based on what was shown and its specs is not that. It looks like a half rushed Lenovo headset. Which is sad as this confirms that Rift 2 was canceled and the pushed this.

        Facebook seems to have failed with the upgrade to Rift (Desktop version) The mobile one is an intersting one and no comment on that

  • sebrk

    Skipping the S and go with keeping my Rift + buying the Quest. Hoping for a proper upgrade in the coming years.

  • EG1000

    VR is a must have for simulation fans. Unfortunately sim enthusiasts represent a relatively small customer base. Having owned the Rift CV1 for over 2 years it looks like my next headset may be the HP Reverb. I waited patiently for Oculus to deliver but I’m ready for clearer visuals now, not 2 years from now.

  • impurekind

    I’m starting to think the Valve Index might just be the new PC VR headset current Oculus Rift users were waiting on.

  • Robert

    I have had the orginal rift and sold it and got the s. And it is much better. no longer do i have to have the sensors , usb expansion card all over the place. The tracking is smoother than before. The resoulition is a bit better but still has some work to do but that is the same across all vr platforms. the head strap is better but the quest one is more wireless headset freindlyer . the built in sound is way to low so ear buds . but so far so good