After teasing last month that Quest 2 could get an update to enable a 120Hz refresh rate, Oculus confirmed the feature is on the way. Unfortunately it’s not heading into beta this month as previously announced.

Update (March 8th, 2021): In a Quest platform roadmap, Facebook has stated that experimental support for 120Hz refresh on Quest 2 is headed sometime in Q2 2021. The level of confidence of this happening is admittedly marked as “LOW”, so it’s possible we may be seeing further delays down the line. As a reminder, Q2 spans April 1st – June 30th.


Update (March 1st, 2021): Oculus has confirmed that Quest 2 will get a 120Hz refresh rate update. The company added the feature to its developer roadmap, according to a tipster Ilja Z from Twitter, with an initial release expected this month. Oculus plans to first introduce it as an “experimental” feature which users will be able to op-into. If all goes well, the feature will eventually become enabled by default, allowing apps to run at 120Hz if desired by developers.

The original article which first highlighted the 120Hz tease, and some other Quest news from the VP of Facebook Reality Labs, continues below.

120Hz Refresh Rate Likely Coming to Quest 2

Original Article (February 12th, 2021): Facebook originally launched Oculus Quest 2 with a default 72Hz refresh rate and ‘experimental’ support for 90Hz, which has since become the new default. A faster refresh rate makes the virtual world inside the headset smoother, more comfortable, and more immersive.

During a Q&A session on Instagram, Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, the VP of Facebook Reality Labs, responded with a literal ‘thumbs up’ to a question about whether Quest 2 would see an update to 120Hz.

The headset’s display is ostensibly already capable of a 120Hz refresh rate, but running it that fast raises concerns about performance and battery life. In order to take full advantage of the higher refresh rate, applications themselves need to be able to run at 120 FPS, which is no small task, especially on a mobile chipset.

Having rolled out 90Hz support to the headset’s core software in November, and allowing developers to run at 90Hz in their applications, Facebook now likely has a clearer picture of the viability of a 120Hz refresh rate.

As with 90Hz support, Facebook would likely roll out 120Hz support on Quest 2 through a software update, and would make it optional for developers to choose between 72Hz, 90Hz, and 120Hz, depending upon what their application can manage. As for Oculus Link, which allows Quest to play PC VR games, 120Hz support would be a welcome addition for those with PC hardware capable of running high-end VR games at that rate.

Wireless PC VR Streaming Apps on App Lab?

Bosworth also responded to a handful of other VR questions during his Q&A, including a question about whether a special version of the Virtual Desktop app, which enables wireless PC VR streaming to the headset, would be allowed into the newly launched App Lab program.

Facebook had previously rejected the app from the main Quest store, Bosworth claimed, because it didn’t want to risk new VR users having a bad experience if they tried to use the PC VR streaming functionality with a poor wireless connection which could make it choppy and uncomfortable.

SEE ALSO
Nine Tips & Tricks for New Quest 2 Owners

App Lab, however, is supposed to allow developers to distribute their apps on Quest without hinging on Facebook’s quality ‘curation’ process. App Lab apps still need to meet other technical and content policies set forth by the company, and it isn’t clear whether it would allow the special version of Virtual Desktop (with PC VR streaming) onto the headset via App Lab.

Bosworth didn’t give a definitive answer on whether or not Oculus would approve the app for App Lab, but by acknowledging the question it would seem that rejection is at least not a certainty.

On Quest 2 Sales

On the success of Quest, Bosworth said that Facebook is seeing a positive adoption curve and “successive doubling of adoption of headset in dramatically shorter periods of time,” though elsewhere he acknowledged that the headset still isn’t mainstream.

Late last month Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had more to say about the headset’s adoption, claiming that it was ‘on track to be the first mainstream VR headset’.

Varifocal Optics

Another question sprung up around whether Facebook was still investigating the varifocal optics technology that it had previously showcased in the ‘Half Dome’ VR headset prototypes.

To that Bosworth said that there’s a range of factors that are challenging to balance with that sort of technology, including size, cost, and durability, but ultimately he said the company is ‘still looking at it’.


Thanks to AquaVR for pointing us to the Q&A session.

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  • Topo Jijo

    How about a total field-of-view headset? How about a photo-realistic VR design program where you can design houses and worlds, etc. on a PC, then “walk” through them? How about 3D Wander? How about A 2D to 3D photo-converter PC program? How about hi-def vr cameras? Why does everything have to be a stupid game?

    • GordoSan

      WUT?

    • Andrew Jakobs

      That’s up to developers. And most of what you say is already available in the business software department.

    • BL

      ‘Stupid games’ are where the cutting-edge real-time rendering work is happening. Developers of modelling or photo software don’t have the resources to push the boundaries of VR. Without games, VR for industrial or creative applications would be nowhere.

  • Ad

    This doesn’t make a lot of sense. There isn’t much power left on the table for standalone use and link has a bottlenecked pipeline.

    • GordoSan

      I kind of agree. I keep thinking this is for a future application, but then what other than maybe the GUI is capable of actual 120Hz? If Link is maxed already, I guess maybe only if they have some new compression algorithm they haven’t announced yet? Then again, they still haven’t revealed their own wireless Link yet, which would compete directly with Virtual Desktop, but they have hinted that it’s real. Maybe some new compression will debut with this new feature. Hmmm.

      • Ad

        Wireless would be even more constrained. It just seems like this is for publicity and only a small segment of apps would use it.

    • I think it will be perfectly usable when connected to PC VR. From what I’ve read there’s more than enough space left to increase the signal to 120Hz, and I have to presume this is true given that Oculus is looking into offering a 120Hz mode, hence the article, and John Carmack himself has even talked about this.

      • Ad

        Facebook would offer it to be a line on the box and a news story. As for remaining space, it’s possible but I have a lot of doubts. I also don’t think the oculus software would make this viable, people would enable it and then be stuck in ASW the whole time.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      There is more than enough power left on the table for standalone use, it’s just what you want to do with it as a developer. If you’re creative enough you can create an excellent VR-experience with ‘low’ graphics. Yeah, don’t expect to play Pavlov in 120hz, for now..

      • Ad

        If people are creative then PCVR games should be godlike at this rate of efficiency.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          But PC has another problem, it has to deal with so many different configurations, it’s just not funny anymore. You have to almost take into account a GTX1050 and an Oculus CV1 to the RTX3090 and a vive index/HP Reverb G2..
          That’s the advantage of consoles/fixed hardware, you only have so few configurations to deal with, it’s much easier to optimize for that particular hardware only. That’s why they can pump out much better visuals out (later in it’s life) of an old console as they get to know the hardware inside out (at least with the older consoles, now with even on consoles using ‘multiplatform’ engines it’s also getting less and less).

          • Ad

            That only goes so far and the gap has narrowed.

    • Sven Viking

      Plausible they might mostly use it for 60fps reprojected to 120Hz. It’d have some of the same benefits of 120fps mainly at the expense of increased reprojection artifacting.

      • Ad

        On Link maybe. Natively it doesn’t have ASW.

        • Sven Viking

          That’s a good point and I admit I was overlooking that, but it still has ATW. PSVR doesn’t have ASW either but does 60fps to 120Hz via standard non-spatial reprojection.

        • Sven Viking

          P.S. Actually I think it may not be just standard ATW but a middle-ground solution, positional TimeWarp?

  • Arthur

    Can anyone who’s tried > 90Hz VR displays tell me how noticeable the jump is from there? Also, is there an estimated limit of human perception with VR refresh rates?

    • It’s a complex answer because the human vision system is complex with wide variation across population; sensitivity to flicker rate and training / previous experience are important

      People playing games, especially fast first person shooters tend to have increased perception of frame rate, the visual system is very trainable explaining why Pro gamers are far beyond casual players in terms of perception of threats.

      Perception of movement in peripheral vision is much faster than central foveal region, which is poor at motion detection. Lower frame rates are very noticeable in peripheral vision.

      13 Milliseconds is shortest measured response to brain recognising formed image, equates to 75hz, though quick motion artifacts can be detected at 500hz.

      Personally using Valve Index, the difference between 90,120,144hz is very noticeable, especially in terms of temporal perception (time) and spatial perception.

      • Arthur

        Fascinating stuff. Thanks for the informative response.

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      • There’s a great piece about retina refresh rates being far beyond 1000 Hz. See https://blurbusters.com/1000hz-journey

        That said, for a lot of displays, you need to double refresh rates to see the difference (60, 120, 240, 480, 960) but for VR, smaller refresh rate increases makes a bigger visible difference since it’s like an IMAX screen strapped to your eyes.

    • Till Eulenspiegel

      Try PSVR, it has support for 90hz and 120hz. On a regular monitor, you won’t see much difference, but with VR – the screen is right before your face and magnified by the lenses. There’s a reduction of ghosting/motion blur, everything looks more real.

      • Aeroflux

        If it doesn’t render at 120Hz, it won’t make much of a difference. Sony hardware has the option to frame-double, which does reduce motion blur, but doesn’t do much else. Most developers will use this more than the option to render at 120Hz.

    • Adrian Meredith

      I can still see noticeable gaps between frames on my 144hz monitor. You won’t notice the difference too much but if hold a sword for example it makes a massive difference.

    • It’s not that noticeable on a conscious level, like you can’t just point and see how it’s so clearly better, but I think it does make a difference, and certainly in terms of reducing any potential motion sickness, which is obviously a major deal in VR. And I think 120Hz will be even better for reducing motion sickness for those who are able to run games at this framerate. So I’m all for it, 100%.

    • Jonathan Winters III

      Quite a big difference – om 90hz, try moving your virtual hand or object quickly left to right and you’ll see the trail of frames. 120hz makes a big improvement in smoothing and making the experience more “real”.

    • Jeff A Courtney

      From 72 to 90 it’s not totally noticeable but on a pc using oculus link it is more noticeable. Using Pimax I don’t see much difference from 120 to 144. But the 90hz is a really nice range to be positioned. Thing is lower hz gives a look like a movie,so it’s not bad. It really looks nice. But higher hz, you get the live television news cast look. So low hz isn’t necessary bad. Epic movies give this dreamy look because of low 30 FPS. High hz is equal to the FPS and at 90hz it’s pretty much realistic. Higher and it takes away from the dramatic look and looks like live news or homemade video,

    • Rosko

      I don’t notice, i would always pick 80Hz & better sharpness over 90> with my Index.

    • Jesusavestill

      Everything seems clearer and live. Not so blurry or dreamy but like a live action recording. It appears your there and not just animated.

  • Oculus *very* soon: well the quest 2 can go 120 Hz, but we don’t recommend because it can be stressfull for the headset because it is an overclock and can lead to damage to headsets due to the overclock and overheating. *People still want to try to see if the 120 Hz are worthy, because Facebook gave an “on your own risk” option to increase”. A lot of burnt, broken devices later, Oculus will say the solution just like they did to the CV1 cable problem: Well, it is a pity that you have a single component failing in your entire headset. The solution? BuY tHE nEXt HeAdSeT.

    • I’ve had a CV1 for, what, 3 years at this point, and it’s still working fine with the original cable. Yeah, the cable is a little [permanently] bent where it connects to the headset, which is annoying to my OCD eyes, but that hasn’t stopped it working flawlessly, at least not that I’ve noticed.

      I think we’ll be just fine if they implement the 120Hz mode.

      • It is not about if it is still working (I am very careful with mine too) but if it stops working. Ovulus already showed that they don’t mind for clients and if someone breaks, the solution is always the worst one.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          Thank god we got warranty for that, at least if it breaks within the first two years..

          • It will probably have the warranty void if you get the 120 hz. Every overclock is like that, AMD and NVIDIA. And given that oculus has a customer service even worse than they (TBH I can’t recall a worse customer service than they), I would not expect something different.
            And to be fair it is not that wrong, an increased refresh rate will put a lot more stress in the headset and decrease a lot of the time of this.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            If it’s officially available it can’t void the warranty, otherwise they should not offer the mode.

          • “hat Does This Warranty Not Cover? This Warranty is limited and not applicable to: (i) normal wear and tear;
            (ii) damage caused by misuse, accident (e.g., accidental physical impact, exposure to liquid, food or other
            contaminants, etc.), neglect, abuse, improper or unauthorized repair or other modification, tampering, or use with
            unsuitable equipment, devices, software, services or other unauthorized third-party item(s); (iii) use not in accordance
            with the Product documentation; ”
            They probably will offer you the option and under the option will have an agreement that this is experimental and if you are trying, your warranty is now void. It is literally the same thing on AMD and NVIDIA GPUs.
            These enterprises don’t give anything free and if Zuckerberg can take out something from you, he will.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Nope, if they offer it as an option and it breaks the headset they need to replace it under warranty (in the EU at least).

  • Till Eulenspiegel

    This is all part of a bigger plan.

    They will add 120hz support for Quest 2, but it will be limited only to games with very simple graphics. In October this year Quest 3 will be launched with better support of 120hz and everyone will want to buy that headset.

    • I doubt very much that Quest 3 is coming this year, but whenever it comes out, I really do hope and expect it to support 120Hz as standard. And ideally it will come with a host of other improvements too, like much better contrast and black levels, a significantly wider field of view, have a bigger sweet spot, be even lighter (hopefully a lot lighter), etc.

      • Bob

        ” like much better contrast and black levels, a significantly wider field of view

        Personally speaking I don’t think any of these will happen. The same quality panel will be used along with the same fresnel lenses which means the same FOV.

        Quest 3’s focus will be eye tracking and possibly some elements of foveated rendering on a select few of applications developed in partnership with Oculus.

        The Quest 4 I believe will be the likely candidate for a lenses and display overhaul.

        • gothicvillas

          Im waiting on Quest 7

          • Charles

            I just want an improved OLED headset. Any significant improvement over the Odyssey+ and I’ll take it. It’s long overdue.

      • Till Eulenspiegel

        According to the Bloomberg report, Apple VR headset is coming out 1st quarter next year. This gives Facebook a last chance to update the hardware before the face off with Apple.

        • TechPassion

          Trying to be kind and polite, but Apple is shit, have shit and can do shit. They don’t have software. They don’t have games. They are not Steam. They produce smartphone clones only. Year after year the same story. Steve was innovator. Cook is ZERO compared to Steve.

  • 120Hz would be amazing… with the Index I could easily see reality as more fluid in that mode…

  • Adrian Meredith

    With 120hz can it reproject from 60hz? Sounds like that would be quite doable

    • Rupert Jung

      Maybe that’s the real point here. 60 fps might be a much better source for reprojecting than 45 fps and still offers performance benefits compared with 90 fps.

  • If the 120Hz things happens I will be very happy. Even if it’s only for use in PC VR mode or whatever, it will still be awesome.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      I think it probably won’t be used for PCVR mode, let’s not forget it takes a lot of power to encode/decode the image to 120hz without sacrificing fidelity, so it will probably be only useful for native apps which haven’t got complex graphical needs.

      • jiink

        This is all true stuff but I still think it would just be nice to have the option.

  • Bring it on….

  • kakek

    Not sure that’s really interresting.
    Quest 2 doesn’t have the power to push decent graphics at 120 FPS. 90 FPS is a much better compromise.
    With link it will require super beefy comp to compress the stream, might increase latency. And facebook doesn’t make PCVR games anymore anyway.

  • Rupert Jung

    “‘still looking at it” sounds like company speech for “screw it”. I’m afraid it’s the same for eye tracking.

    • Greg Seliga

      They abandoned pcvr and killed rift platform. Main focus is cheap and capable vr headset for the masses. I guess it’s cheaper to install 1-3 cameras for eye tracking rather than varifocal lenses.
      Eye tracking will be a standard in next gen headsets, we already hear about it in Apple device and “Index 2”.

  • Les Vega

    I’m just gonna wait till I see if they are going to keep making newer models year after year before trading in my serviceable rift S.

  • Rogue Transfer

    John Carmack on Twitter: “Quest 2’s display can run at 120hz, but there are various concerns about it – few apps could run smoothly at that rate, some units might show some visible ghosting, and it could constrain second sourcing of the display.”

    If the reported compressing & streaming performance overhead currently at 72Hz is ~15%, near doubling the refresh rate to 120Hz would raise that to ~25%. That’s a huge chunk of lost performance from a streaming PC GPU! Combined with the high resolution, it’ll need a very beafy PC to cope with streaming many games to Quest 2 smoothly at 120Hz. Even with reprojection filling in every other frame, it’ll still be the same compression overhead with 120 unique images-a-second needing compressed.

    Then, there’s another aspect not touched on by the article, battery life. With 90Hz on Quest 2, it’s reported that battery life is shortened to around an hour on standalone. So, if there are any standalone titles that end up capable of 120Hz, it’s going to shorten that even more, to something like as little as 45 minutes, before needing a recharge.

    Taking all these things into consideration, alongside needing FCC re-certification & cost for very few users capable of running at 120Hz(with 25% PC streaming overhead), I suspect that this won’t likely happen and this is just a publicity stunt by Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth to drive more purchases. By just doing a ‘thumbs up’, he’s not committed the company to doing anything, just shows he ‘likes’ the idea – which means nothing, at the end of the day, unless he or someone at Facebook actually states it’s happening.

    Thus, no “hint” of an update will happen, at all, presently. It could be just his personal ‘like’ for the suggestion. Time will tell though, but best not to read too much into an offhand ‘thumbs up’ picture, considering how reluctant Facebook are to some Quest 2 units ending up offering a poor experience with ghosting at 120Hz. It’d end up being a lottery, with many disappointed, when they find out after buying now, that they have one of the ghosting ones.

    • TechPassion

      640KB was also enough memory for PC.

  • Jesusavestill

    I have 120hz on Pimax 5k plus and 144hz which makes the lens split for some reason. All quest 3 needs after a 120hz update on quest 2 is a bigger fov. Boost the resolution to 3000×2160 and a fov of 130 horizontal would be nice.

  • Jesusavesoulstill

    I like my Pimax 5k plus for the higher hz and wide fov. The quest 2 for only 300 bucks is really a bargain. No external sensors required and optional pcvr using a simple usb. Alternatively pcvr wireless available through virtual desktop. 60,72 and 90hz…soon 120hz. Sidequest optional for more games. Praise Jesus !

  • sebrk

    Still Fecesbook so…

    • Elite-Force_Cinema

      Are you trying to say you want to force Oculus to go out of business for good just so that you can force them to not for them to be better at supporting their customers but for them to get all of their employees to go bankrupt and homeless instead simply because you think Oculus is owned by Facebook and that you think Facebook is bad simply because you care about your privacy and anti-censorship and nothing else? Cause it sounds like you are!

  • Jonathan Winters III

    120hz is a big jump for smoothness and immersion, but doubtful if many devs will use it as it takes a lot more horsepower. Unless Oculus provides a frame interpolation option, which would be nice.

  • TechPassion

    So it would mean that 90 Hz can be played at much higher quality (higher bandwidth)

  • Jesusavestill

    Actually the opt in option is better because you’ll get it immediately without sitting around weeks looking for update as you stand in line for it.

  • Jesusavestill

    One cool thing you can do now is have a higher and clearer resolution. You have to use sidequest and go to the settings. You can boost to 2500 or 3000. But at 3000 it may crash. The 2500 makes everything and every app play sharper and clearer. But you’ll lose battery faster. It’s like having a 2500 resolution now instead of 2000.

  • SKD007

    The quest 2 has close to 2k per eye but it looks way off from Reverb G2 2k screen. Is quest 2 really 2k or is it way lesser and just getting sampled at close to 2k ? I have both and really confused

    • Greg Seliga

      Had both, it’s due to compression.

  • oomph

    Times have changed
    Any upgrade w/o specs like glasses is going to be history
    I wait for nreal likes &
    I dont want a soc. media a/c on my VR set

  • Quest 2 is my first VR headset and aside from its anemic field of view. Considering its the latest headset to hit the market the choice to ship it with such poor FOV is just puzzling. Valve Index is now 2 years old with MUCH better immersion due to expansive FOV even with lesser resolution. To achieve the wider FOV, the Valve team simply angled the optics 5 degrees (lens and display panel) along with a tiny bit of software correction of the image. I’m not sure why Facebook didn’t do the same but if they had, the Quest 2, with all its recent improvements (Air Link, 90-120hz, Hand Tracking, etc) would be the undisputed king of VR. As it is, the FOV is anemic and makes an otherwise great product wanting for a hardware update ASAP. Quest 3 can’t get here soon enough.