In what might be called the most impressive update in recent memory, Oculus seems to have completely fixed the tracking issues that have plagued the Oculus Rift S since launch. The Oculus Rift S uses an inside-out tracking system, which utilizes a series of 5 cameras that are placed around the headset and are used to track the controllers’ movements and the physical location of users in a room.
Users en masse were reporting significant tracking issues with the headset in games that require hands to get close to the face or be placed too far to the side or behind the user’s head. Plenty of games require these kinds of movements and we saw reports of many users returning their Oculus Rift S units after several weeks of troubleshooting. Oculus firmware version 1.39 was released on June 27th to the public test channel beta and has received some extensive testing from users since then.
If you’re an Oculus Rift S user and are interested in testing out the new firmware, head on over to the beta tab in Oculus Home and enroll in the Public Test Channel. Oddly enough, the release notes don’t even mention tracking issue updates or fixes, yet plenty of users have cited substantial improvements in all types of scenarios.
If you’re still on Windows 7 or 8 you should not install this beta, as there are significant issues running on those platforms. Windows 10 users should find the beta to be a highly-desired improvement in many games.
The Oculus Quest looks to be getting this same update soon, but it's not yet known when Oculus will make the new tracking updates available to that system.
Ironically enough, we recently published an article detailing these exact issues, which have been plaguing users since the launch of the Oculus Rift S some 2 months ago. Since 3D tracking and roomscale support is such an important part of VR, the issues with inside-out tracking have kept many VR enthusiasts from jumping on board with a headset that only supports this type of tracking.
As we detailed in that previous article, users were having issues with tracking being completely lost when hands were placed too close to the face or anywhere to the back of the head. This included actions like pulling the scope to your face while holding a gun in first person shooter titles like Pavlov or Onward, pulling back the nock of an arrow in any game that features archery, and even issues in games like Beat Saber where you often are flailing your arms about at high speeds, slicing blocks to the beat of a song.
As evidenced in the video below, all of the above seem to be completely rectified through a series of fixes, most likely including the use of several data points gathered from the controllers and the cameras themselves. There’s only one point near the end of this video where the tracking gets lost at all, and it’s only for a very brief moment while the controller is completely behind the player’s head.
Since this sort of scenario of bringing your hand behind your head and pausing will likely only happen in this type of testing scenario, it’s likely that Oculus Rift S owners will no longer experience the game-breaking issues with tracking that we’ve seen up until now.
Do you have an Oculus Rift S and have tried the latest update? Has it fixed anything for you? Let us know in the comments below!