Oculus Quest 2 Is Changing into A VR Private Pc
Earlier this week, I installed Blizzard’s Hearthstone, Apple Music, and the Android flat screen version of Netflix on Oculus Quest 2.
On my left I was playing a hand-tracked game of Hearthstone while on my right I saw Terminator 2 downloaded locally from Netflix. In the middle of my room was the Oculus browser, floating the entire web in front of me.
I switched from Netflix to listen to downloaded songs from Apple, and adjusted the Hearthstone volume so that the game’s sound wouldn’t interfere with the soothing sounds from my music library. I finally tried turning off Quest 2’s wifi – Apple Music was still playing my downloaded songs and Netflix was still playing my downloaded movie. Even via the official Netflix VR app in the Oculus Quest Store, I cannot access this type of multitasking functionality, nor can I download films locally to play them with the WiFi turned off.
For those wondering how I did this, I just installed traditional flat screen Android apps on Quest 2 and then launched the apps via Quest 2’s new multitasking feature. I have searched online for Android Packages (APKs) that are mirrors of the ones published on the Google Play Store. Then I uploaded them to my Oculus Quest from a PC running SideQuest and signed into each of these services from my existing accounts. I’m not going to link to my sources for these APKs in this post as this process can be quite risky and potentially opens your devices to malware if you land at the wrong url or click the wrong link on a certain website (we’ll be adding a publish separate instructions). And to be clear, what I did was nothing new – Facebook’s standalone VR headsets were technically capable of running Android apps that date back to the Oculus Go of 2018. What’s different now and why am I sharing this?
The quality of this overall experience is improving at a rapid pace. The latest in multitasking functionality makes it easy to quit those Android apps and arrange them in your room, and it looks like Facebook itself is aiming to use these features more directly in the future. Still, there’s something else here, and it’s an important moment worth mentioning.
Oculus Quest 2 is now multitasking with full 6DoF convenience and with no physical controllers, independent of external computers or input devices, and all in all, this indicates a big step forward for VR as its own computing platform. For the first time, I felt like I had experienced a VR headset that works independently as a PC.
Does Quest 2 have the customizable hardware and operating system flexibility of a traditional desktop PC? Absolutely not. Is Quest 2 as portable as a pocket-sized smartphone? No. Is a “good condition” Facebook account required to use this device as more than just a paperweight? Yup. That’s a lot of caveats to referring to Quest 2 as a “PC” in the traditional sense, but with multitasking Android apps, Bluetooth keyboard and mouse support, and a full web browser, I claim Quest 2 is certainly a “multipurpose computer.” Size “is, capabilities and price make it possible for individual use”, as the Wikipedia page for “Personal Computer” currently defines the term.