Oculus VR Founder: “30fps Is Not a Good Artistic Decision, It's a Failure”

Palmer Luckey explains what frame rates virtual reality requires.

While many console games still run at 30 frames per second, Oculus VR’s founder Palmer Luckey has said he doesn’t think of it as a choice, but a failure.

Speaking with LinusTechTips, Luckey explained that virtual reality requires much higher frame rates than what you need on a typical screen. He said that 60fps is enough, but that we’ll see huge improvements with up to 90Hz or 120Hz and even small improvements beyond that.

“VR is going to need much higher frame rates than consoles, although even for consoles or traditional PC games, I don’t think 30fps is smart,” Luckey said. “It’s not a good artistic decision, it’s a failure.”

Last month, developer Ready at Dawn said that its PlayStation 4 exclusive The Order: 1886 will run at 30fps by design, as it’s seeking to deliver a "filmic look." As director Dana Jan explained: “60fps is really responsive and really cool. I enjoy playing games in 60fps, but one thing that really changes is the aesthetic of the game in 60fps.” Jan said that at 60fps would cause the game to look like “something on the Discovery Channel, like an HDTV kind of segment or a sci-fi original movie maybe. Which doesn't quite have the kind of look and texture that we want from a movie.”

Luckey said that he starts to see diminishing returns between 90Hz and 120Hz, and that VR is probably going to end up somewhere in that range, at least for the foreseeable future.

As for VR experiences using mobile devices (which Oculus is reportedly working on) Luckey said he thinks we’ll see more simple gaming and communication experiences, like panoramic photo capture and virtual movie theaters.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg and Google+.

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