Learn how to Play PC VR Video games on an Oculus Quest 2
The Oculus Quest can be used as a standalone headset, but you can also plug it into a PC for a full PC VR experience. The process is relatively simple, works with a wired connection or wireless, and gives you full access to SteamVR and a large universe of PC VR games.
What you will need
To play PC VR games with your Oculus Quest or Oculus Quest 2, you will need a few things:
The USB cable should be long enough to support the type of VR experience you want to play. If you just want to play while sitting or standing, you can get away with a shorter cord than would be required for room-filling game. In this case we are using a 5.6 foot USB 3.1 cable which seems like a good general purpose length for VR.
An official cable
Oculus Link cable
The official Oculus Link cable is four feet and is guaranteed to work with the Oculus Quest, but other cables may work as well.
Prepare your guardian
Before connecting your Quest to your PC, you will need to set up your play area boundary. You do this with your Quest in standalone mode. Whenever you start your quest in a field that does not have limit information stored, you will be prompted to create one. So set up your quest in the area you want to play, then either confirm that there is a correct limit or create a new one when prompted. This is the same limit when using PC VR.
How to set up a wired connection
If this is your first time using your Quest with a PC, you will need to do some initial setup first. We assume that you have already set up your Quest as a standalone headset and are only concerned with the process of PC-VR with Quest.
First, download the Oculus software for Windows. It’s an installer called OculusSetup.exe. Run the installer and just follow the guided installation instructions. It may take some time to download the approximately 5 GB of data that the application needs.
During the installation you will be asked to either create your Oculus account or sign in. Note that Quest 2 users must have a linked Facebook account. A linked Facebook account will become mandatory for original Quest users in the future unless Facebook changes its plans.
Once you’ve actually signed into the Oculus application, it’s time to set up your Quest for PC VR.
First select “Devices” in the left sidebar. Then click on “Add a headset”.
Choose the right headset model. In this case, it’s Quest 2 for us.
Next, choose the connection method. For a wired connection, select “Link (Wired)”. We’ll cover Air Link (Wireless) separately below.
Now plug one end of your cable into the PC and the other end into your Quest. Be sure to use a USB 3 port when using a USB 3 cable.
Next you have the opportunity to test your cable. We highly recommend that you do this to make sure you have enough real-world bandwidth to get the best experience. If you are using a USB 2 connection, you will get a warning. You can still play on USB 2, but you will get a more compressed picture and performance may not be as consistent.
When you reach the Setup Complete screen, click Close, then put on your connected headset.
Inside the headset you will be asked if you want to activate Oculus Link. Say yes and you will be moved from the Quest environment to the PC Oculus environment. Now you are ready to play some games!
How to play Oculus native games
Playing native Oculus PC games with Quest is no more difficult than playing native Quest games. Once you are in the PC Oculus virtual room, all you have to do is access your library and select the game you want to play.
Of course, if you’ve never done this before, you’ll need to purchase and download some games first. Some Quest games give you both PC and Quest versions of a game, so you may already see some titles in your PC Oculus library.
No need to buy or install games through the headset. It’s easier and more convenient to do this with your standard monitor, mouse, and keyboard.
How to Play SteamVR and Other VR Games
What if you want to play games that can’t be found in the official Oculus library? The good news is that any game compatible with the old Oculus Rift is also compatible with Quest through Oculus Link.
SteamVR, which essentially includes all of the VR games sold on Steam, is the platform most Quest users are likely to use alongside the native Oculus store. Before attempting any SteamVR game with your Quest, first make sure that SteamVR is installed on your system. Simply search the Steam storefront for “SteamVR” and install it if you haven’t already.
There are a few ways to start a SteamVR game in order to play with your Quest, but all of them require the Oculus software to be open.
The easiest way is to simply launch a SteamVR game from your Steam library from the desktop after you’ve connected your quest and opened the Oculus software. Then just put on the headset and start playing.
You can also start it in the same way in the PC Quest environment, but by pressing the desktop button on your Oculus VR interface and then opening the game through Steam.
The third method is to start SteamVR yourself first. This takes you to Steam’s own VR home environment. From here you can adjust the universal Steam VR settings and start the games from the library in VR.
Aside from SteamVR, other VR games will work with Quest as long as they list the Oculus Rift as a supported headset. For example, to play the Epic Game Store version of Trover Saves the Universe, we just had to click on the game’s three dots in the EGS library and select “Launch in Oculus VR”.
How to set up a wireless connection
The final piece of the Quest PC VR puzzle is Oculus Air Link. This is basically the same as the Oculus Link wired method, but it uses WiFi, which means you can play your PC VR games without the wires holding you back.
At the time of writing, September 2021, Air Link is still experimental. So you have to activate it under Settings> Beta in the Oculus PC software. You will also need to enable it in your Quest Settings in Standalone Mode under Experimental Features.
After activation on both devices, make sure that both the PC and Quest are on the same network. The PC should preferably be connected to your router via Ethernet. The Quest should be connected to the router using the 5 GHz frequency band with 802.11ac Wi-Fi (also known as Wi-Fi 5) or Wi-Fi 6 (also known as 802.11ax Wireless). If your router is not up to the task, you may need a new router.
With that sorted, choose the Quick Settings in your quest, then choose Air Link. You will see a list of Air Link enabled PCs on the network. Select the PC you want to use and you will be transported into the Oculus PC environment. From here on it works the same way as with the cable. In addition to Air Link, you can also use the third-party Virtual Desktop app, but it costs an additional $ 20.