Demoing the Oculus Rift S and Quest at GDC 2019

One of the biggest highlights of the Game Developers Conference 2019 was Facebook unveiling the Oculus Rift S, an improved and more powerful version of the Oculus Rift. So obviously had to demo it to see what has changed.

Luckily I was already scheduled to demo the Oculus Quest and so I was able to squeeze in a session with the Rift S. During my demo session, I got to experience games on both the Rift S and Quest while also getting the chance to compare both of their hardware.

This is a look at my experience with the Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest during the Game Developers Conference.

Demoing the Oculus Rift S

The Oculus Rift S has several key improvements over the standard Rift, the biggest one being the motion sensors are built into the headset. One issues I’ve had with the standard Rift has been the external motion sensors and how a minor misstep would disrupt the experience. With the motion sensors built into the headset, one could actually have an adventure with little interruption.

Asgard’s Wrath is a RPG experience that has players explore and battle in a mythical Norse world. During my demo session I got to play two different gaming styles. In the first part, I took on the role of a Norse god and battle a Kraken. In the second part of the demo, I got to practice my combat skills against a verity of enimies. My session came to an end after I “took an arrow to the knee“.

Since I got to experience Stormlands during a special demo session prior to Oculus Connect 5, this is the only time I could compare a game played on the Rift to the Rift S. Without the external motion sensors, I could actually explore this world the way it was meant to be.

Demoing the Oculus Quest

Given that I had previously demoed the Oculus Quest at Oculus Connect 5 back in September 2018, I got to only play one game so that I could have more time with the Rift S.

Journey of the Gods is an experience that could only be described as The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker turned into a VR game (complete with an annoying fairy). In the demo, I start by learning the basic features. Then I’m allowed explore the world while also having the chance to battle a boss.

The key feature of the Oculus Quest has been the elimination of being tied down to a computer. Since not everyone can buy a PC that could “Run Crysis“, this will open quality VR to more gamers. At the same time, gamers are invited to explore a VR world with the six degrees of freedom like never before.

Final Thoughts

The Oculus Quest will truly allow gamers easy access to a quality VR experiences without being tied down to a high power PC. Gamers who have a high power PC will want to take an interest in the Rift S as it’s an improvement over the Rift in almost every way possible.

This special report is part of Level Up s coverage of the Game Developers Conference 2019. If you attended the event, please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Disclaimer: GDC provided me with press credentials for the week.