Guy Godin’s Virtual Desktop now offers 120Hz wireless PC VR streaming support for Oculus Quest 2.
Godin says he’s also planning to support 120Hz mode for traditional flatscreen games in some of his virtual environments as well, but that hasn’t been implemented yet.
The refresh rate of a display is the number of unique frames it can show per second, expressed as a frequency (Hertz). A higher refresh rate reduces the time between frames which helps to reduce latency. It also makes objects in motion look smoother, and in VR also makes the environment itself feel more solidly locked in place. Because VR headsets only show each frame for a few milliseconds to reduce blur, higher refresh rates also reduce the chance of perceiving flickering. Quest 2 runs at 72Hz by default in apps. Higher refresh rates leave less time to render each frame, so only some developers in some apps are able to support them. We’ve got a list we’re updating on an ongoing basis tracking the apps supporting 120Hz on Oculus Quest 2.
Quest Update 1.20.5 is now publicly available. Adds 120hz support, a Potato VR Graphics quality for those with lower-end GPUs, adds high frequency hand tracking along with some game compatibility fixes. Enjoy!
— Guy Godin (@VRDesktop) April 30, 2021
Godin originally released a wireless PC VR streaming feature for Virtual Desktop on Oculus Quest shortly after launch in 2019, but Facebook’s leaders in VR told him to roll back the update and remove the feature from the store. Godin complied, but also released a patch that allowed people who purchased the software to go through several extra steps in order to re-activate the feature. In February 2021, Facebook’s leaders changed their minds and invited the wireless streaming feature back into the store and two months later Facebook launched its own feature, Air Link, that also provides wireless PC VR streaming.
120 Hz support on Quest 2 is an experimental feature you activate in a menu while wearing the headset. Facebook’s Air Link is also an experimental feature as well, with its frame rate settings managed in the Oculus PC app. At the time of this writing, you can set Link to 72 Hz, 80 Hz, or 90 Hz for a Quest 2.
PC VR games utilize the power hungry processors in Windows PCs to provide more graphically detailed environments or more satisfying physical interactions. A wire between a headset and its PC can transport all that data with limited or no compression at all, but at the cost of a distracting tether to the machine that you can get tangled up in. Oculus Quest 2 operates without a wire, keeping its processors in the heavy front of the headset. An optional mode uses compression to send over PC VR graphics using a USB connection for Oculus Link or Wi-Fi for Air Link. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently commented “some other folks might try to ship something that they claim is higher quality but has a wire, and I just don’t think that consumers are going to want to go for that,” noting that “having wires wrapped around you just really breaks the sense of presence and immersion.”
Sony revealed that its follow up to PlayStation VR on the PS5 will feature a wire, though it’s possible there may be a wireless model as well. Valve Index and HP Reverb 2 both feature wires, while HTC offers a high-cost wireless add-on for its wired PC headsets. HTC is expected to announce new headsets at its ViveCon event this month.