We now have official confirmation that there will be a 120Hz refresh rate mode coming in March for the quest to in the experimental feature settings. This is all very exciting, but we need to consider things when thinking about 120 hertz mode on quest two. But before we go into that, for some context, let’s cover some of the histories of this. It all started when John Carmack tweeted out this tweet suggesting that 120 frames per second might be possible on the Oculus quest at some point, so what Carmack is saying here is that some developers may default their game to the highest frame rate setting, so this currently will be 90 hertz, which will be fine for some games.
But when 120 hertz comes out, the highest setting is no longer 90 hertz; it’s 120 hertz. And that game that has been programmed to default to the highest setting now defaults to 120 hertz, and it might not be optimized to run at 120 hertz, meaning you get a poor gameplay experience, hence the warning from John Carmack.
And then we have the Facebook Vice President Andrew Bosworth, who gave a simple thumbs up to the question, will there ever be 120 hertz on the quest to you might remember, Bosworth did a similar thing to this by winking at the suggestion that they’re going to develop a quest Pro. Now, this quest pro might be a deluxe edition of quest two, or it might come sometime in the future when the quest free has been released. But my point is when we get these hints from the Facebook Vice President; usually, they come to pass, as is the case here. And now, looking at the Oculus quest development roadmap, we see that 120 hertz refresh support is coming expected in March.
Now it might not arrive in March; the confidence is medium on this item. But this is the official confirmation that 120 hertz is being worked on and will probably arrive at some point in the future. Now let’s get back to basics. What do we mean when we talk about hertz? Well, this refers to the screens refresh rate, have a look at this image here. In particular, take a look at the top left, which shows 60 hertz, and the bottom right shows 240 hertz. What you’ll notice is that the movement on the character across the screen is so much smoother. And that’s because the screen is refreshing at a higher rate. So in the case of 240 hertz, it’s showing 240 separate images on the screen in one second.
When we talk about hertz in terms of the Oculus quest, the original Oculus quest has a refresh rate of 72 hertz, the Oculus quest two is currently capable of 90 hertz, but this new update will bring a whopping extra 30 hertz on top of what the quest two is currently capable of. So the question is, does this make a variation? And the answer to that is undoubted Yes. The valve index, for example, is capable of 120 hertz. And this makes games feel a lot smoother when compared to 90 hertz or less. So what are the benefits of this? Well, firstly, the game is going to feel so much smoother. And assuming the game can take advantage of 120 hertz, then 120hz refresh rate will offer a better gameplay experience than 90 hertz or less.
It also could mean less motion sickness. Or, if you don’t get motion sickness, you might feel more comfortable within the game. If you’ve ever experienced a VR game, we have low frames per second. You’ll know exactly what I mean. It could also improve your performance in games. For example, if we think about beat Sabre, that requires speedy reactions, particularly on the heart and modes. Now high frames per second mean a smoother gameplay experience, which could mean you hit that block that you otherwise would have missed when the frames were lower.
Now you should be getting very excited about this update. But I’m going to Curb Your Enthusiasm just a little and give some of the negatives when it comes to 120 hertz. In reality, there are no negatives because more options are better than fewer options. So in my books, having the option of 120 hertz is better than not having it. But like with any improvements, there is usually a cost. Here are some things to keep in mind when talking about 120 hertz; on the quest for a game to take advantage of 120 hertz, it will take more juice more processing power. So to explain this, take a look at this image here.
This image here represents four frames per second, how many frames your Oculus quest is computing or drawing every second. Now, if we have a screen set out 120 hertz, that means it refreshes 120 times every second. You should see that if our game is at 60 frames per second, then it doesn’t matter how many times the screen refreshes because we are only getting 60 frames per second from the game. So it doesn’t matter that our screen is refreshing 820 hertz because the game itself is setting a cap on the number of frames per second that we see, So for that game to take advantage of 120 hertz, it needs to produce more frames per second, which means more computing power.
As kamek points out here, many existing titles won’t update to 120hz refresh rate. And those that do, we might be waiting a little time before that happens. Now developers of upcoming games might consider 120 hertz, but it all depends on the type of game, so games with simpler visuals like beat Sabre will possibly be able to run 120 hertz pretty comfortably. However, more visually complex open-world games like Star Wars house from the galaxy’s edge, for example, probably not so much not without a significant reduction in graphical quality because games that take advantage of 120 hertz will take more processing power. And with games that use up most of the Oculus quest’s computing power already, there’s just not going to be enough headroom for 120 hertz.
The other thing to consider when using 120 hertz mode on standalone games on your Oculus quest is battery life. And so, while you might find your stock Oculus quest to concurrently play games for about two hours on one full charge, by turning on 120 hertz, you might expect a significant reduction in that battery life. It will also mean that your quest two will heat up faster and probably run a bit hotter. Now it won’t melt your face off. And it might even be a clever Facebook conspiracy. So our Oculus quest to break faster. So we have to invest in the new and upcoming Oculus Quest Pro. But in all seriousness, battery drain and your quest heating up a bit more are things to consider with 120hz refresh rate mode.
Now, what about Oculus link those games you need to be connected to a computer to play. At the same time, there’s much more computing power and headroom. When it comes to PC, the computer gaming net depends, of course, on the specs of your PC. But again, running high-end games that take full advantage of 120 hertz requires a pretty good rig to do that. Now, of course, if your computer can’t handle 120 hertz, you can always do things such as reducing your resolution so that you can hit those higher frame rates. But again, you’re compromising graphical quality to get 120 hertz. So you have to decide what’s more important to you, the graphical fidelity or the frame rate, unless, as I say, your computer is pretty powerful, in which case you can probably have 120 hertz and decent graphics same time.
The other advantage of using the Oculus link is that if you’re using a cable that can charge your quest simultaneously, it streams content from your computer because you don’t have to worry so much about battery life. When I use my official Oculus link cable, my quest charges simultaneously, I am playing games, and it means that I can play games for a lot longer before my battery runs flat. So that’s my analysis of 120hz refresh rate coming to the Oculus Quest.
In summary, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it; I think having the option of 120 hertz is fantastic. But having said that, when it comes to standalone games, 120 hertz only applies to those that are graphically reasonably basic. And while there are more opportunities to use 120 hertz for Oculus link PC VR titles, it still requires a pretty good rig to take full advantage of 120 hertz without compromising on graphical quality. Well, that’s it for this blog. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. If you have remembered, hit that thumbs up button.