Guy Godin rebuilt the wireless streaming feature Oculus Quest owners use to PC VR play games from their computer using Virtual Desktop.
The new update adds the “ability to stream native Oculus Rift games without needing Revive or SteamVR.” Godin notes you should have the Oculus PC software installed on your PC for the new method to work. There’s also a “Games” tab in VR to launch Oculus and Steam games as well as “improved tracking smoothness and latency.”
Wireless PC VR Steaming And Latency
A delay in VR between your movements and what your eyes see of less than 20 milliseconds is generally considered comfortable. A number of factors could contribute to latency between the wireless Quest and the PC VR system. Godin suggests some people with a good VR-ready graphics card, router, the right game and an uncongested Wi-fi network could see motion-to-photon latency clocking between 30 and 40 milliseconds via the streaming feature. I saw numbers in this range while testing a pre-release version of the Virtual Desktop update.
The first public beta version with the new update is 1.9.6 and there are still a few more bugs to work out, according to Godin. To experience it, you’ll need the requisite hardware and the Oculus Store Quest version of Virtual Desktop which is usually priced around $20. You’ll also need to use SideQuest to patch Virtual Desktop and unlock the PC VR streaming feature. You can find Virtual Desktop on SideQuest here and instructions for how to use the sideloading platform here.
Godin first released the wireless PC VR streaming feature for Virtual Desktop on Quest shortly after the headset’s release in May 2019. Facebook blocked the feature, though, citing comfort concerns. Godin turned to the sideloading platform SideQuest to release a patch for the product which essentially unlocked the feature for buyers who wanted it.
I interviewed Godin in our virtual studio recently about developing Virtual Desktop and the relationship with Facebook. He started building the software in 2014 when Facebook acquired Oculus. In 2016, he released the PC version which is available on Steam and the Oculus Store. In 2018, he released the separate mobile version for Gear VR and Oculus Go.
Virtual Desktop filled a gap in the market early on allowing people wearing headsets to operate their PC while inside VR. Since then he’s been continually adding more features, like 360 photo and 3D movie viewers, while optimizing performance. Other services like Bigscreen allow operation of your PC while inside VR and even allow sharing of your screen with faraway friends, but Virtual Desktop maintains a steady presence on top downloaded lists across all platforms as a go-to utility for operating your PC while in VR.
Godin says the latest update also improves “initial connection reliability” and fixes “lots of compatibility issues with games including hand position in Boneworks and error launching The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners”. There are also other bug fixes in the release.