Oculus VR has announced a new software update for its standalone Oculus Quest VR headset that enables it to connect to a gaming PC and work like an Oculus Rift head mounted display (HMD). The Oculus Link software will be available in beta this November and will allow owners of the Oculus Quest with a proper PC to play games designed for the original tethered headset, essentially expanding addressable market for the titles and bringing new features to the device.

The Oculus Quest is a standalone VR headset based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC paired with a display of a 3200×1440 (1600×1440 per eye) along with Touch controllers supplied with the original Rift. One of the main features of the Oculus Quest is its inside-out 6-degree-of-freedom (6DoF) positional and controller tracking that does not require any external sensors. The unit has a USB Type-C connector for charging, but as it turns out it also can be used to connect the HMD to a compliant PC and play games designed for the Rift.

According to Facebook, most of high-quality USB Type-C cables will work with the Quest, so it looks like the device relies on a VirtualLink USB-C AltMode interface that needs 6 lanes of high speed data: 4 DisplayPort HBR 3 channels for video, a single USB 3.1 Gen 2 channel (2 lanes) for data, and a mandatory 15W of power. The manufacturer says that its own optical fiber cable for Oculus Quest will be available later this year and will provide enough bandwidth and plenty of length to move around the room when playing.

While the Oculus Quest has a fairly advanced mobile graphics subsystem, modern gaming PCs are much more powerful and therefore games for Oculus Rift are substantially better looking and provide a more immersive experience. By enabling PC connectivity on the Oculus Quest, Oculus VR makes those games more accessible. In addition, it encourages gamers with the standalone VR HMD to get a fully-fledged gaming PC.

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Sources: Oculus VR

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  • BloodyBunnySlippers - Thursday, September 26, 2019 - link

    I always figured I'd enter VR with seated experiences like flight/space sims. But this sounds potentially awesome. The idea of having a mobile device for friends/family to try out with no cables, but then being able to plug in and also play Elite Dangerous or a Flight Sim with it sounds really nice.
  • bloodgain - Thursday, September 26, 2019 - link

    Virtual Desktop had the ability to stream SteamVR games wirelessly, but Oculus made them remove the feature (though I believe it was/(is?) possible to sideload a patched version). To me, that would be the killer feature.

    Still, it's nice that they're going to support this natively. I've been planning to get a Quest to supplement my Samsung Odyssey+, but with this feature, I might end up selling the Odyssey+, especially after they add hand tracking to the Quest next year.
  • Cumulus7 - Friday, September 27, 2019 - link

    For a wireless experience you can always use the free ALVR.
    See: https://github.com/JackD83/ALVR/releases

    Works just fine - although it includes a bit of lag. So maybe not good enough for BeatSaber but fine for simulations like DCS.
  • Nibre - Thursday, September 26, 2019 - link

    One correction based on what Oculus employees have said elsewhere, the USB-C cable _won't_ be utilizing the VirtualLink AltMode, it just needs to be a high-bandwidth USB 3 connection to your PC.

    You don't need to plug it into your graphics card USB-C/VirtualLink port (though you probably still could), you just plug it in normally to your on-board USB 3, which can even be with a cable that ends with a Type A connector. Apparently they've made some highly customized compression (on both ends) to make this possible. The custom fiber optic cable they're making is to just optimize the length/weight/throughput of the cable for low-latency VR usage.
  • Alistair - Thursday, September 26, 2019 - link

    If it is compression, usb 3 is actually a lot of bandwidth remember, 60hz bluray is about 100Mb/s and USB 3.0 is 50 times that, so the issue is how do you stream in real time? It's like a Twitch stream at 1440p/72hz, which computers can do that?
  • Guspaz - Friday, September 27, 2019 - link

    The bandwidth isn't the problem. The latency is.They'll likely be trying to trade as much of a bandwidth increase as they can get away with in exchange for faster encoding (and thus lower latency).
  • smithg5 - Friday, September 27, 2019 - link

    Apparently the limiting factor for bandwidth is the decode limit on the Snapdragon 835 - Carmack said the most they can do is 150mbps. I believe it was stated that this solution only added 2-3 ms of latency, and tracking stability shouldn’t be much different because time warp is still being done in the headset. Carmack also said that because the display is rolling refresh (vs global refresh on the Rift S LCD) that theoretically they could have latency lower than the Rift S.
  • abufrejoval - Friday, September 27, 2019 - link

    Modern GPUs have IP blocks for real-time encoding of frame buffer data which sacrifice optimal quality for fixed latency overhead. That was originally designed for VDI, but also works for cloud gaming or local streaming.
  • Tams80 - Thursday, September 26, 2019 - link

    Well, that makes it a lot more appealing; something VR desperately needs. I can afford to shell out for one headset, but not really two. If I only have one, that means I won't use VR as much and possibly just abandon it.

    Now, if only they had made the compute part of the headset modular.
  • atatassault - Sunday, September 29, 2019 - link

    Optical cable from the manufacturer? Will this be the first USB-C / TB3 optical cable?

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