‘Oculus Dash’ is a Total Rift Interface Overhaul That Lets You Use Desktop PC Apps in VR


Today at Oculus Connect, Oculus’ Head of Rift, Nate Mitchell, announced the ‘Core 2.0’ update coming to Rift on PC which brings Oculus Dash, a total overhaul to the store and library experience on Rift, which also allows you to use desktop PC apps inside of VR on virtual monitors.

Oculus Home and the Universal Menu were originally designed for gamepad controllers; once Touch came onto the scene, the motion controllers were simply made into laser pointers as a stop gap to getting the interface to work.

Now Oculus has announced the ‘Core 2.0’ update, coming to the Rift in beta this December. The update will bring a total overhaul to Oculus Home and the Universal Menu, one that’s designed specially for motion input. Specifically, the Core 2.0 update will condense the existing functionality of Oculus Home and the Universal Menu into a new interface that’s accessible anywhere called Oculus Dash.

Oculus Dash can be called up anywhere, just like the former Universal Menu. From the Dash you can access the Oculus Store, your game library, friends list, and critically, you can launch traditional PC desktop apps—like Chrome, Spotify, and Netflix—right inside of VR. PC apps are represented in their own floating windows, which Oculus says are treated deep at the operating system level as true virtual monitors. You’ll even be able to ‘pin’ PC apps from the dash so that they stay floating in view while you’re in a VR game.

On stage, Oculus’ Head of Rift, Nate Mitchell said that the company had thought a lot about how to optimize PC app windows for VR. He claims Dash will offer “best in class performance and visual quality,” for PC apps in VR, setting the platform “on a path to replacing real monitors entirely.”

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Because the new Oculus Dash combines Oculus Home and the Universal Menu functionality, Mitchell says that Oculus Home has been freed up to become more personal, social, and customizable. We’ll have more on the company’s new plans for Home soon.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • polysix


  • Firestorm185

    The fact that I’ll now be able to have soundcloud running in the background while playing games and just pop up the window and change song any time I please without taking the headset of is incredible.

    • Daemon Hunt

      I realised the other day you can d this in the Vive. It makes waiting around for something oin VR so much better :)

  • Foreign Devil

    A.D.D. people will rejoice. . a chance to fragment your attention further! Looks slick though!

  • Michael Franco

    We need a Keyboard and mouse

    • Armando Tavares

      .. and the ability to use stuff sitting down?? :)

      Why is everyone standing up when you see promo videos like this one? I do stuff in my computer SITED DOWN!! :)

      • kool

        SEATED otherwise perfect english

        • Armando Tavares

          Thx. I do my best but every now and then something like this comes along to remind me that I need to read more.

          Just got the first 4 Game of Thrones books in English… I guess it’s time to start reading. ^_^

          • kool

            Naw your english is better than most Americans already lol!

  • Sooooo what about Bigscreen VR? Competing with you own developers is a bit annoying (from a developer point of view) unless you bought them out of course.

    • Ian Shook

      Apple does it all the time. All it does is offer choices.

    • mrtexasfreedom

      Well, in the particular case of Bigscreen VR, that has been promoted as being something of a social shared-space experience. The content on the virtual displays is shared viewing. I think the intent here is to primarily support individuals accessing 2D content from their desktop computer.

      Announcing a feature like this so far in advance also gives the Bigscreen VR developers time to adapt and differentiate their product.


      I love Bigscreen, and i think the Dev’s have done a great job, but i have always suspected it would become redundant over time. Facebook BOUGHT Oculus to evolve into THE social VR experience. Between the new “Dash” and “Spaces” i think it might become more difficult to differentiate the features of Bigscreen from the Oculus OS.

  • VResh
  • Cy James

    I’m still going to buy a mixed reality device, I had more of a focus on doing this type of stuff instead of playing games – but I got to admit, this does look pretty slick. Maybe it will get microsoft to step up it’s game and have a few other environments besides the cliff-house ready for us shortly after launch.

    • Armando Tavares

      I have a feeling they already have more then cliff-house. Anyway, you’ll have stuff like Bigscreen that have like a dozen scenarios you can play/work on.

  • PJ

    Looks really nice

  • Daemon Hunt

    This is cool looking. Simulated in the video, of course. But the concept is good. Now we just need some higher HMD resolutions for all these ‘desktop PC’ apps and we can actually enjoy them more. I can’t wait until we do this stuff every day on 4K+ HMDs without having to squint and zoom in ;)

  • Ian Shook

    Very cool – although unusable with current rift resolution. I hope Santa Cruz is a big enough jump to make virtual monitors plausible.


    This is the SHIT! One of the most exciting announcements from yesterday. Sitting/Standing at the helm of your own VR universe. Multi-tasking. Hell, Yes!

  • Lulu Vi Britannia

    To those who say this will be unusable because of the current resolution :
    1) Don’t speak before you try it.
    2) Currently, the resolution allows to read letters at font size 10, an arm length far from you. That is basically the distance between you and your “Dash monitors”, so it’s enough. And if you need to read those small letters from further, in most applications you can just zoom-in… So, there is no problem to work/read in VR.
    3) If that’s still not enough, you can still use Super Sampling to multiply the resolution.

    In other words : the current resolution IS enough to use Oculus Dash. Of course it would be better to have a better resolution. But if people keep bashing on VR because of the resolution, you will simply NOT get any new HMD with higher resolution and the tech will just die. Any technology can and will improve, it’s obvious.

    Now my main concern about Dash is : will we get a virtual keyboard? Sure we could use Windows’ virtual keyboard on a “Dash monitor”, but I think it would be best for Oculus Dash to have its own. It’s not hard to do, and it costs nothing.