John Carmack Says Oculus Quest and Switch Will Compete Due to Mobility and Processing Power

John Carmack Says Oculus Quest and Switch Will Compete Due to Mobility and Processing Power

John Carmack says that the Oculus Quest' processing power is on par with last-gen consoles, and that the headset will compete with Nintendo Switch.

On Wednesday, Facebook and Oculus unveiled the Oculus Quest, the first standalone VR headset. While we knew the headset would have over 50 titles at launch, including fan favorites like Robo Recall and Moss as well as the upcoming Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Seriessome were still a bit confused about how powerful the system was.

During his keynote at Oculus Connect 5 yesterday, CTO John Carmack, who you may know better from his days at iD Software, shed a bit more light on how powerful the Oculus Quest actually is. He also gave an idea of what platforms they’d be competing with.

On a technical level, the Oculus Quest will be more on the level of last-gen consoles like the Xbox 360 and the PS3 than current-gen consoles and high end PCs. That’s why he says not to expect high-end AAA games to wind up on the platform looking exactly the same:

“Quest is in the neighborhood of the power of a previous gen [console], like Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, just in terms of CPU and GPU and what you can expect to do on it…It is not possible to take a game that was done at a high quality level – like a AAA title – for that generation and expect it to look like that in VR.  It’s too many more pixels to wind up rendering…

I do stand by my statement that the core magic of any Rift experience can be bought to this, but you can’t ignore the difference in processing power.”

That being said, Oculus Quest will still be better than those last-gen consoles in some ways. While the PS3 and Xbox 360 would display games at a resolution of 1280 x 720 at 30fps with lackluster anti-aliasing, the Oculus Quest is set to display at 1280 x 1280 to both eyes at 72fps with better texture rendering. This will result in Oculus Quest games having about 8.5 times as many pixels as an Xbox 360 titles, so games on the Quest should look a bit better than what we saw last-gen.

Ultimately, John Carmack believes that the Oculus Quest will be competing with a system like the Nintendo Switch more so than the PS4 or Xbox One because people will want to pick up the Oculus Quest as a secondary, more mobile platform:

“Realistically, we’re going to end up competing with the Nintendo Switch as a device. I don’t think there’s going to be that many people who say, ‘I’m not going to buy a PS4, I’m going to buy a Quest instead.’ I think we are going to have people like ‘I’m a gamer, I’ve got my brand of choice for main console or a PC that I play games on, so I’m going to pick up the Quest as a mobile device.’ That’s very much like the Switch is right now.”

You can watch John Carmack’s full keynote below. The Oculus Quest is poised to be released sometime in Spring 2019.