Facebook’s Head Of VR Product: ‘New Tech’ Soon For Rift, ‘Surprises’ At GDC

by Ian Hamilton • February 11th, 2019

A blog post from Oculus co-founder and Head Of VR Product Nate Mitchell promises big reveals in the coming months.

We reported last week references to a “Rift S” listed in Oculus code with on-board cameras and software-based adjustment for tuning the headset to each user’s eyeballs. Rift S might be priced lower than the original PC-powered Rift. The Rift dropped in price from $600 to $350 over the last three years. As Microsoft showed, though, lower cost PC-powered headsets are possible.

Rift S is still unconfirmed. Meanwhile, Facebook is in the final weeks of preparation for the launch of its standalone $400 Oculus Quest VR system. We expect Quest to be the focus of Facebook’s reveals at the Game Developers Conference from March 18-22.

Mitchell, however, promises “some surprises in store” as well.

The post mentions “we continue to ship software improvements to Rift on a steady basis, incorporating your feedback to level up our existing hardware while developing new tech (more on that soon).”

The “new tech” is a particularly interesting tease of what might be to come from Facebook’s VR efforts.

“Oculus Quest is just another milestone on our long journey to bring VR to everyone,” Mitchell wrote. “We’re looking to make true breakthroughs—from optics and displays to haptics and more.”

The post also says that “87% of Oculus Go owners are new to the Oculus ecosystem.” The future of Oculus Go is unclear as the low cost $200 standalone system lacks 6DoF controller tracking critical to many of the best VR games to emerge over the last few years. Nonetheless, it is a highly accessible system that works well in seated conditions. Any advancements on the system could open up the headset to a larger market at the low end.

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