Oculus Quest / OC5


Earlier this year at GDC I had the opportunity to experience an early work-in-progress preview of Santa Cruz. I had good things to say about it:

Since March, the industrial design received a minor material/ergonomic update, the controllers converged with Rift/Touch, and the SLAM (now titled Oculus Insight) is within reach of consumer readiness. Launching in Spring 2019, I think this will be the first consumer virtual reality headset. The standalone platform is effectively a console-market system, so the $399 USD price point will be a major factor for adoption.

There's a few minor things that remain to be demoed prior to consumer launch. None of the experiences engaged the Guardian system – either too hard to setup for each demo, not fully polished, or absent for other legal safety reasons (each demo space had a human chaperone to help attendees avoid walls). There are data points suggesting this feature was optionally enabled for some demos.

General room-scale tracking is robust. The relocalizer system is snappy under rapid head motion and I found it slightly better compared to the Windows Mixed Reality ecosystem of headsets. I noticed some minor static drift while standing still, but the demo spaces at OC5 are outliers to the typical living-room setup regardless.

Controller tracking simply works and I did not find the field of view to be a practical concern. Trying hard enough, it was possible to arrange hard-to-track controller orientations involving occlusion. Rapid hand motion could use tuning towards launch, but overall I have not tried any other inside-out tracked controllers with this level of fidelity yet.

Technical and performance details on the platform are thin. I've heard the system is running a 2017-era Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, driving the displays at 72hz (similar to the optional high-end mode on Go). One session indicated that the platform supports OpenGL ES 3.x and Vulkan 1.x, which is positive news for engine developers. It's difficult to get a quick sense of display & optic quality, but these attributes felt roughly on-par with the Go and competitive with Rift.

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Dimitri Diakopoulos