Oculus CTO and legendary programmer John Carmack took to Twitter recently to explain his reasoning behind why Rift S is still worth buying even though Oculus Quest will soon get the ability to play Rift games via Oculus Link.

A bit of backstory: Facebook first unveiled the software feature at Oculus Connect last week, which will let Quest essentially work as a Rift on VR-ready PCs by connecting to computers via a USB 3.0 cable. It’s slated to launch sometime in November, and while it’s no doubt a welcome feature to users who are looking to get one of the most capable VR headsets out of the box, it’s clear some Rift S owners feel snubbed by the news.

Launched just four months ago, Rift S replaced the original 2016-era Rift as the company’s only high-end PC VR headset, and was positioned as the only way to play the platform’s PC VR titles. At the same time, Quest was launched as the only way to play a select number of bespoke VR games either ported or made exclusively for the standalone hardware, leaving both ecosystems segregated outside of the few cross-buy apps sponsored by Oculus

Carmack, who makes no bones about telling unambiguous truths on the company’s technology in his famous unscripted talks, says that Rift S still has a few key selling points over the standalone Quest:

Referring to Oculus Link’s current latency, Carmack additionally says that it “doesn’t make any sense to play Beat Saber over the link — play it locally without the cable!”

A fast-twitch game like Beat Saber is arguably one of the best ways to benchmark a VR headset’s hand-tracking and overall signal latency, as you can easily compare between systems the ingrained feeling of hitting blocks on the beat.

SEE ALSO
PC Tethering on Quest is a Huge Upgrade, Making Rift S a Tough Sell

Road to VR’s Ben Lang does however point out in his recent hands-on with Link that despite the current issues mentioned by Carmack, the experience is surprisingly pretty great.

“Visually, the image felt smooth with no stuttering or obvious compression artifacts, nor significant muddying of dense textures (something you often seen with attempts at wireless VR over Wi-Fi). The edges of geometry felt sharp and maintained strong stereoscopy,” Lang writes.

The hand-tracking was also pretty good too, although Lang only got to try the upcoming Rift exclusive Asgard’s Wrath running on Quest, so there’s no telling how Link will truly perform with other titles. It was a promising enough experience for Lang to call it “like [using] a native PC VR headset.”

Check out the full hands-on here for a deep dive.

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  • Niklas Fritzell

    Let’s see what happens to that statement once the stock of the rift s has cleared.

    • Renos Dickey

      I have been thinking about that very thing.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Unless they introduce a new Quest which has virtuallink hardware (so connector, but also the displayhardware), then you might be right.. IMHO if they added the extra hardware and the extra camera, I think it might actually be a good choice for PCVR, but as it sits now, with the streaming option, it’s not suitable for all PCVR games, and making it not suitable for all games, means it isn’t a good replacement for the S.

      • Jistuce

        They won’t any time soon, because basically nothing has VirtualLink™ connectors to hook such a headset into.
        The current highest-end nVidia cards are the only option, and that’s literally only nVidia’s cards. No one else’s boards with nVidia chips carry USB-C connectors.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          Yes, and that’s a shame. The navi-chips do support it, but the current AMD cards don’t have it..
          Everything should go to virtuallink, we need one cable to rule them all, sick and tired of needing to have a different cable for everything..

      • A. Rojas

        I think the next version will go this route, possibly combining Quest and Rift into one.

  • Alextended

    And 80 hz vs 72 hz. Doesn’t sound like much of a difference but when you compare it to the original “90 hz minimum” all VR devs used to swear by, S is just 10 under that while Quest is almost double that difference, 18. It adds up. Specially when it’s proven higher than 90 hz are even better with people that got to play on Index with high frame rates.

    • Immersive_Computing

      Got to try Rift S for first time yesterday at Raindance Immersive festival. Impressive lenses but 80hz felt bit sluggish (I’m using Index at 144hz)

      However Quest at 72hz with compressed graphics has no interest for me, tried Space Pirate Trainer like a shadow of the PCVR version.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5273d8f473048255c6d4edfa4aaa48ac886c6da78649f65e637cd6fd8794dce0.jpg

      • adasd

        strange. SPT runs just fine for me….

        • Immersive_Computing

          Depends what you are used to playing Space Pirate Trainer on?

          • Anders Eismann

            I agree, coming from Valve Index, I did not like quest at all :)

          • Immersive_Computing

            Quest is an incredible device in itself and impressive feat of engineering, but not comparable.

          • draez

            How is it not comparable if it’s getting it’s horsepower from a tethered PC instead of the onboard chipset?

          • A. Rojas

            John Carmack said it himself, less latency, non-compressed graphics. There is a reason he said, “doesn’t make any sense to play Beat Saber over the link — play it locally without the cable!”.

            It seems to work fairly well from the limited games tested, And might be good enough in most games… But it’s still hack and not equal to native PC support. Everything is rendered locally (and at a resolution closer to that of the Rift S, NOT the Quest’s resolution) on the PC then compressed, sent to the Quest and then decompressed. That’s a lot going on. Quite amazing actually.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        Yeah, but comparing a 1079 euro set to a 499 euro(Quest)/449 euro(S) set is almost like comparing apples and pears….. I’m pretty sure if there was a Quest version which had the hardware in it for making it 1079 euro’s, the choice would propably much different..

        • Immersive_Computing

          The price is irrelevant to me, but I’m not the target consumer for entry level devices so your point stands.

      • Adrian Meredith

        I don’t think spt is a great example,. The graphics are such a step down and for no real reason. Just a cheap port unfortunately. Beat sabre would be a better comparison. Don’t have it on rift/pimax but at no point have I felt the quest version lacking

        • Immersive_Computing

          SPT is a great example, it’s a well known title with successful sales, cherry picking titles with better optimization is misleading. It’s also a title used to demo Quest at retailers…

          If Oculus cleared such a cheap port for publication on Quest, that is very telling…

        • Jarilo

          That’s what makes PC-VR better, you don’t have to cherry pick titles. It just plays them all. lmao

  • visual

    In otherwards, neither are ideal. That’s just marketing spin on the reality that we should instead wait on the next iteration that is best of both worlds.

    • asshat

      what are you smoking? how does a comparison of two tell you neither is worth it? if anything you just get to pick and chose the features you want. you have options…. some people man, its like you grew up with your head in your ass and only know how to discuss your own shit.

      • Trenix

        Aren’t you the one that admitted to me that you’re the pot smoker? lol, retard.

    • Jarilo

      You don’t have to wait for anything, Oculus isn’t the only game in town. In-fact, if you are a high end VR enthusiast they have lost their crown, potentially for good.

  • JesuSaveSouls

    The odyssey is buggy at times,so the quest on pc will be nice.

  • Shaun Ashment

    I hope someone figures out how to get the 90htz that Carmack said was possible on the Quest but not approved by the FCC.

  • gothicvillas

    They have agreement with Lenovo to sell x amount of devices

  • mellott124

    Rift S is a Lenovo HMD. That tells you which system Oculus thinks is more important. This is just damage control. Rift S days are numbered.

    • The Bard

      Lenovo company is better than shit Oculus kickstarter thing, so don’t know what you are complaining about.

      • mellott124

        In terms of VR systems and headsets, no, Lenovo is not better. Not by a long shot.

    • Jarilo

      Did you know that the Quest is also based on a Lenovo stand alone 6-dof headset called the Mirage something or other? Hah.

  • The Bard

    No hardware IPD = thanks, but no. Odyssey+ is the king of VR, still. Waiting for Odyssey 2. I hope soon…

    • Trenix

      Most uncomfortable, garbage mixed reality headset with trash controllers, only two camera tracking, with an irritating nose flap, and a screen that can’t properly stay on your face to prevent distortion? Yeah definitely not a king of anything. Anyone who advertises this garbage headset has to be part of their marketing team, lol.

      • The Bard

        “garbage mixed reality headset” – garbage? For almost a year it was the best VR experience possible and you call it a garbage? Nice. Controllers are bad to you? WMR controllers have clickable touchpad as well as joystick, which Oculus and Vive shit did not offer. Two cameras are very fine for tracking. It works very well if the room is well lit. Garbage shit are base stations and cables around the whole room – a total nonsense. You need a mental doctor if you can’t face the facts. Odyssey+ the best visuals in VR, the best sound in VR, very comfortable with 20 usd headstrap

        • Clifmeister

          So clearly this means you need the mental doctor.. This Odyssey headset, its kinda crap. “For almost a year it was the best VR experience possible” … dude you ever try the other headsets?!

        • Jarilo

          “Odyssey+ the best visuals in VR”

          Someone has not tried RGB screens before, that’s for sure. The 3k RGB on my Index blew the 3k pentile on my Vive Pro away to the point that even the OLED can not make up for it.

        • vbdevpro

          Sorry mate, but with that 2 camera tracking and those terrible controllers, it’s never been “the best experience”.

        • Trenix

          Who has ever said that the Odyssey provided the best experience besides that delusional and sketchy German guy? Seriously, who? If Samsung wants to stand a chance, they need to do away with mixed reality, improve comfort, and add more cameras, Samsung has a LONG way to go unless they team up with the right developers.

          Odyssey+ is not even a competitor.

          • The Bard

            Odyssey+ has the best VR experience to date. Only recently there is overpriced Index with buggy controllers. Rift/Rift S was always just low quality, weak immersion shit. WMR is just Steam VR. Nobody cares about WMR having Odyssey+. Basically it is Steam VR headset dude.

    • JakeDunnegan

      I’ve noticed you posting your love letter to the Odyssey+ a lot. Surely you’ve seen The Princess Bride? “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means…”

      • asdfasdfasdf

        INCONCEIVABLE!

      • The Bard

        It is just good. OLED, 1440×1600, hardware ipd, built-in good quality speakers and Oculus store games, Steam VR games work well. Controllers are very nice too. I just like the device. Lower resolution than Odyssey and LCD unacceptable to me as well as tiny holes in strap as speakers. Odyssey+ you can get for 299$, unbeatable price. What for to pay 440 USD or even more? For much worse experience? Think about it. I am looking forward to Odyssey 2 which can be just around the corner.

        • DaRc

          Will there even be an Odyssey 2? Didn’t Odyssey+ bomb?

    • Jarilo

      Khancity? is that you ?

  • MosBen

    The bottom line is that at the same price it doesn’t make much sense to choose an S for a few soft benefits over the Quest, which adds the ability to go mobile. If Facebook lowered the price of the S it could get an edge that would be important to some people, but right now I can’t imagine anyone making that choice today. As others have said, it seems likely that the S is just a placeholder until it’s phased out. Maybe in the next generation we’ll see a low-end HMD that can be tethered to a PC out of the box, but then you can add a compute/battery unit as an accessory to make it into a mobile VR unit?

  • Pablo C

    If I´d be a new customer I´d choose the Quest over the S. But having played VR for a couple of years, I know I like long-complex games. And the Quest is too heavy for a couple of hours in VR. For me, the Quest has been significantly better for a specific part of one game: The dojo, at Vader Immortal (you have to be free if you are a Jedi). But for all others I will keep using my CV1.

    • Jarilo

      If you have to cherry pick a game then it’s not a good and versatile VR kit.

  • Trenix

    These people take their customers as idiots and they’re not afraid to show it, lol.

    • JakeDunnegan

      Agreed. I feel downright abused. And this on the heels of Nvidia making my RTX2070 WAY overpriced at this point. (Particularly since I’ve only had it for 8ish months and I’ve already RMAd it!) PC hardware makers are really boning their customers.

      • Jistuce

        The entire RTX series was way overpriced at launch, and remains so today… just like pretty much any nVidia product from the last five years.

        But look on the bright side: There’s still a chance that they’ll find a use for all those tensor cores you paid for that are great for machine learning but completely useless for 3D rendering.

        I still don’t understand why the Rift S exists, though.

        • adasd

          and we will eventually get to real time raytracing in games. its very usefull, just not being utilized by anyone yet.

          • Chris James

            MS Flight 2020 will use it.

          • Jistuce

            The tensor cores aren’t usable for raytracing. That’s a DIFFERENT limited-use block that was included for professional purposes. It at least has a purpose in a graphics chip, though. (But limited availability within the RTX chips means that hardware raytracing will be limited to small portions of the rendered scenes.)

        • Trenix

          That’s not really true. I tend to compare benchmark performance of graphics cards to price and the new generation graphics cards are actually worth their price. I just build my wife a new computer. I recommend to aim for the RTX Super versions over the standard ones. At some point the graphics card prices did rise and I was told it was a lot to do with bitcoin. However people are now realizing it’s not worth farming for it anymore.

          Maybe AMD will get the upperhand in the future, but as for now it seems like Nvidia has been the most reliable when it comes to gaming.

  • vbdevpro

    I’m not buying into the previews from the “so-called” experts again. They’ve overhyped everything I’ve bought so far. None of it has been as great as they claimed. I bought an Index based almost completely on their hype about the Index controllers. They were way off about those things. I prefer the Touch controllers. I’ll just wait and see myself. I do not believe that you can compress and encode two (one for each screen in the Quest) 72 hz, 1440×1660 VR streams almost instantly while maintaining great latency for tracking on the HMD and two controllers and not have any visual downgraded or artifacts. Not buying it. I’ll believe it when I see it.

    • adasd

      i do it pretty well wirelessly so i have faith wired will be pretty good. but same dont believe it till u see it

    • Alextended

      Stop buying shit and blaming others for it, lol.

      • vbdevpro

        I’ll buy what I please and post what I please no matter what anonymous internet trolls say. Thanks for your input though.

    • Jarilo

      I prefer the Knuckles over the touch CV1 and new ones having have used both, now what. Our opinions meet at dawn and have a show down or….just wait for reviews next time?

  • Jarilo

    I sold my Rift-S (not because of the Quest) but If you have a dedicated space and a high end PC-VR it’s still better to get a PC dedicated headset instead of dragging around pointlessly all that mobile hardware weight on your face at 72hz on your face for no reason. If you like playing VR in your yard sometimes or showing it to grandma, I guess the Quest can do relatively both. lol

  • I have no doubt that the Rift S is better for PC VR content. But is it SO better to justify spending $399 for a device that can do only PC VR while the Quest can do both?