The Oculus Quest can act as a standalone headset, but you can also connect it to a PC for a full PC VR experience. The process is relatively easy, works with a wired or wireless connection, and gives you full access to SteamVR and a vast universe of PC VR games.
What you need
To play PC VR games with your Oculus Quest or Oculus Quest 2, you need a few things:
The USB cable should be long enough to accommodate the type of VR experience you want to play. If you only want to play seated or stationary experiences, you can get away with a shorter cable than room size will require. We use a 16-foot USB 3.1 cable in this case, which seems like a good overall length for VR.
An official cable
Oculus Link cable
The official Oculus Link cable is 16 feet long and is guaranteed to work with Oculus Quest, but other cables may work as well.
Preparing your guardian
Before connecting your Quest to your PC, configure the boundary of your playground. You do this using your Quest in standalone mode. When you place your Quest in a room that does not have stored boundary information, you will be prompted to create one. Then place your Quest in the area you want to play, then confirm that a correct limit is in place, or create a new one when prompted. This will be the same limit when using PC VR.
How to set up a cable connection
The first time you use your Quest with a PC, there will be some initial installation work to do first. We assume that you have already configured your Quest as a standalone headset and will only handle the process of PC VR using Quest here.
First, download the Oculus software for Windows. It is an installer named OculusSetup.exe. Run the installer and simply follow the instructions in the guided installation. It may take some time to download the approximately 5 GB of data that the application needs.
During installation, you will be prompted to either create or log in to your Oculus account. Please note that for Quest 2 users, an associated Facebook account is mandatory. For original Quest users, an associated Facebook account will become mandatory in the future, unless Facebook changes its plans.
Once you’re logged in to the Oculus application, it’s time to get your Quest configured for PC VR.
First select “Devices” in the left sidebar. Then click “Add Headset”.
Select the correct model of headset. In this case, it’s Quest 2 for us.
Then select the connection method. For a wired connection, select “Link”. We handle 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 if you are using a USB 3 cable.
Next, you will have the opportunity to test your cable. We strongly recommend that you do this to ensure that you have enough bandwidth in the real world to get the best experience. If you use a USB 2 connection, you will get a warning. You can still play on USB 2, but you get a more compressed image and the performance may not be as consistent.
When you reach the “Setup Complete” screen, click close and then turn on your still connected headset.
Inside the headset you will see a prompt asking 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 native Oculus games
Playing native Oculus PC games with Quest is no harder than playing native Quest games. Once in the PC Oculus Virtual Room, simply access your library and select the game you want to play.
Of course, if you have never done this before, start by actually buying and downloading some games. Some Quest games give you both PC and Quest versions of a game, so you can already see some titles in your PC Oculus library.
You do not have to buy or install games from inside the headset. It is easier and more comfortable to do this using your standard monitor, mouse and keyboard.
How to play SteamVR and other VR games
What if you want to play games not found in the official Oculus library? The good news is that any game that is compatible with the old Oculus Rift is also compatible with Quest using the Oculus Link.
SteamVR, which includes essentially all VR games sold on Steam, is the platform most Quest users are likely to use in addition to the original Oculus store. Before attempting to run a SteamVR game using your Quest, first make sure that SteamVR is installed on your system. Just search the Steam storefront for “SteamVR” and install it, if not already.
There are a few ways to launch a SteamVR game to play with your Quest, but all require Oculus software to be open.
The easiest way is to simply launch a SteamVR game from your Steam library from your desktop after connecting your Quest and opening the Oculus software. Then just put the headset on and play.
You can also launch it in the same way from the PC Quest environment, but by pressing the desktop button on your Oculus VR interface and then opening the game via 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 universal Steam VR settings and launch games from the VR library.
Aside from SteamVR, other VR games work with Quest as long as they specify the Oculus Rift as a supported headset. For example, all we had to do to play the Epic Game Store version of Trover Saves the Universe was click on the three dots on the game in the EGS library and select “Start in Oculus VR.”
How to set up a cable connection
The last piece of the Quest PC VR puzzle is the Oculus Air Link. This is actually the same as the wired Oculus Link method, but it uses WiFi, which means you can play your PC VR games without any cable holding you back.
At the time of writing in September 2021, Air Link is still experimental. So you need to enable it under Settings> Beta in the Oculus PC software. You must also enable it in your Quest settings while in standalone mode under Experimental Features.
When enabled 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 using Ethernet. Quest must be connected to the router using the 5 GHz frequency band using 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.
If it is sorted, select quick settings in your Quest and then select Air Link. You will see a list of Air Link compatible PCs on the network. Select the PC you want to use and you will be transported to the Oculus PC environment. From here, things work exactly as they do with the cable. Aside from Air Link, you can also use the third-party Virtual Desktop app, though this will cost an additional $ 20.