Want to play PC VR content on your Oculus Quest or Oculus Quest 2? Here’s everything you need and how to do it.
The Oculus Quest 2 is a fantastic standalone headset from Facebook. There’s heaps of native content available on the Oculus Quest store, but one of the key features of the Quest and Quest 2 is their ability to also play PC VR content as well, while connected to a VR-ready PC.
This guide was first published in October 2020, but was updated and republished in December 2020, February 2021 and June 2021 to ensure all information remains correct and up-to-date.
There’s two ways to do this — wired and wireless. First and foremost, there’s Facebook’s official wired method called Oculus Link, which uses a USB cable. However, there’s also more advanced wireless options — Facebook’s official wireless option, Air Link, and a third-party app, Virtual Desktop.
All three options are available for Quest 2 users. Unfortunately, Air Link isn’t available for the original Quest headset — those users will have to stick to wired Oculus Link or Virtual Desktop for wireless play.
We’ve outlined what you need and included instructions for setup of all three methods below, focusing primarily on Oculus Link.
For wireless options, we’ve written up a quick how-to summary on each and then linked to our other, more detailed guides for those methods, if you need them.
In addition to your Oculus Quest headset, you’ll also need a VR-ready PC.
Take a look at Facebook’s Oculus Link compatibility page to see if your computers meet the minimum requirements for Oculus Link. Also check that all your hardware is compatible — not everything is compatible with Link yet (but it’s getting better).
The specification requirements will change depending on the game as well — some PC VR games require beefier specs than others — so be sure to check game requirements too.
For Oculus Link, you’ll need a USB-C cable to connect your Quest to your computer. Air Link and Virtual Desktop are wireless (and therefore potentially less reliable) solutions, so no cable is needed.
The USB-C to C cord that comes included with the original Oculus Quest will work with Link (for either headset). If your computer has a USB-C port, then you can plug it directly into that. If not, you’ll need a USB-C to A adapter — just make sure it’s from a reliable brand, as we’ve found that Oculus Link can act a bit funny when you’re using less reliable equipment.
The Oculus Quest 2 does not come with a cable that’s long enough for use with Oculus Link, so you’ll need to buy one yourself. Facebook sells an official cable for $79 that is a thin, flexible 5m optical cable. While on the pricier side, you’ll be guaranteed reliability with the official cord.
Alternatively, any USB C to C cable that meets at least USB 2.0 specification should work (or you could use a USB-A to C with an A to C adapter, both of which need to be at least USB 2.0). The cable should be at least 3 meters minimum, ideally 5 if you want a maximum range of movement.
We’ve got an entire guide on building an Oculus Link cable, so read that if you’re still unsure.
Download the official Oculus app, which is the software that will run Oculus Link and allow you to play PC VR games on your headset. You can get it here, listed as Oculus Link setup software.
Oculus Link also works with SteamVR, so make sure to download Steam and install SteamVR if you want to play any of that content.
Oculus Link Setup
Before using Oculus Link, you’ll need to perform a first-time setup.
Make sure your Quest is turned on and connected to your computer with your USB cable. From there, open the PC Oculus app and press ‘Add a New Headset’ and select either the original Oculus Quest or Oculus Quest 2. The app will then run you through an easy first-time setup process.
After you’ve set up Oculus Link, it will be available to use whenever you plug your headset into the PC — a prompt should appear in VR asking if you want to enable Link.
From there, you can launch any Oculus games directly or start up SteamVR on your PC to jump into other experiences. You’re good to go!
Adjusting Oculus Link Refresh Rate on Quest 2
When using a Quest 2, you can adjust Link’s refresh rate to run at higher rates than the default 72Hz. The original Quest is limited to just 72Hz, so the following steps won’t apply.
Once you’ve got Link up and running, you can tweak its refresh rate to run at either 72Hz (the default, recommended option), 80Hz, 90Hz or 120Hz. To do this, connect your Quest 2 to your PC and go to the Devices tab in the Oculus PC app.
If you click on the active Quest 2 headset, a settings sidebar will be brought up.
Click on Graphics Preferences to adjust the refresh rate and rendering resolution, as pictured above. Setting these options too high will impact performance — it depends on your PC hardware and potentially what game you’re playing, so test and adjust accordingly.
This method works for setting Air Link’s refresh rate and rendering resolution as well — your preferences should be carried over.
Air Link Setup
The official method for playing PC VR content wirelessly on Quest 2 is Facebook’s Air Link, available in beta in the Oculus PC app. It is only available for Quest 2, but owners of the original Quest can try out wireless play using Virtual Desktop instead (see below).
Keep in mind that Air Link won’t necessarily work for everyone — depending on your personal setup and your network hardware, performance and reliability may be unstable or vary.
Here’s a short summary of the setup process (for more detail, see here):
First of all, you’ll need an AC or AX router with a 5Ghz network for good performance, with your PC connected via Ethernet. Then, enable Air Link on PC in the Beta section of the Oculus app settings (pictured below) and in the Experimental Features tab in your Quest 2’s settings.
You can then start Air Link in the Quick Actions menu of your Quest 2 — just select your PC, connect, and you’re good to go.
If you’re having trouble or need greater explanation, we have a separate guide with more detail on setting up and using Air Link here.
Virtual Desktop Setup
An alternative to Air Link is the third-party app Virtual Desktop, which allows you to bring your computer’s display into VR and interact with it from within your headset. However, it also has similar functionality to Air Link, allowing you to stream PC VR content wirelessly to your Quest.
The app has quite the history and was actually available long before Air Link — some users find the former works better than the latter, or vice versa. Plus, unlike Air Link, Virtual Desktop is available for both Quest and Quest 2 (but performance may not be quite as good on the former).
Virtual Desktop’s performance will really depend on your individual setup and internal network. If you’re having trouble with Air Link, Virtual Desktop may be an alternative to try instead. That being said, you might still encounter unreliable or varying performance depending on your setup. It’s really hard to say.
Just like Air Link, you’ll need a ‘reliable’ router with a 5Ghz network and a computer connected via Ethernet. You’ll also need to install the Virtual Desktop streamer app for PC and purchase a copy of Virtual Desktop for Quest.
Once you have those downloaded, just make sure the streamer app is running on your computer and open up Virtual Desktop on Quest to connect. Once connected to your computer, you can launch your PC VR content and adjust the streaming settings in Virtual Desktop’s menus to optimize performance. You can also use Virtual Desktop’s ‘Games’ tab (pictured above) to start playing.
If you’re having trouble and need a more detailed explanation, we have a separate, longer guide on how to stream PC VR content using Virtual Desktop here.
So those are your options for playing PC VR content on the Oculus Quest and Oculus Quest 2. Got any questions? Leave them in the comments below.