Announced yesterday, Oculus Link will allow Quest to play Rift games by connecting to any VR-capable PC. In our hands-on at Oculus Connect, the feature really does seem to deliver an experience that feels like a native PC VR headset.

At launch, Oculus Quest only worked with its own separate library of content powered by the headset’s on-board mobile hardware. That meant that even if you had a VR-ready PC (as many PC gamers these days do), you couldn’t play any games from the Oculus PC library, which includes some of VR’s best games.

That’s going to change in November with Oculus Link, a feature which opens up the Oculus PC library to the headset by plugging Quest into a PC via a USB 3 cable. Oculus has said that any USB 3 cable that meets spec will work, but as it’s hard to find one that meets bandwidth and power requirements at a length that would be suitable for room-scale PC usage; they’re planning to release their own “premium” USB 3 cable which they can be certain checks all the right boxes. The cable will reportedly cost $79.

Photo by Road to VR

I got to try Oculus Link with the premium cable at Connect this week, and though I didn’t get to pick my own content (which means I didn’t get to look at stress-test scenarios), my initial impressions are really quite positive.

With Quest plugged into a VR-ready PC and running Asgard’s Wrath, it really felt like a native PC VR headset. There was no noticeable increase in head tracking latency during my time playing, nor could I detect any on the controllers (though I’ll withhold final judgement until I get to test the system with something that’s more latency sensitive, like Beat Saber).

Visually, the image felt smooth with no stuttering or obvious compression artifacts, nor significant muddying of dense textures (something you often seen with attempts at wireless VR over Wi-Fi). The edges of geometry felt sharp and maintained strong stereoscopy.

At the conference this week, Oculus explained that they’re doing a sort of peripheral compression where the edges of the frame are compressed while the center remains high fidelity—had I not heard that direct from them, I certainly wouldn’t have noticed from my demo alone, as any compression artifacts that might have been in the periphery were hidden under the peripheral blur of the lenses anyway.

Photo by Road to VR

The only thing that caught my eye visually was the moving ocean water in Asgard’s Wrath looking granier than I would have expected. Unfortunately, without a Rift S on hand to test with, I couldn’t discern if this was simply a janky water shader (ie: just part of the pre-released game) or a consequence of the compression needed to make Oculus Link work. Indeed, small, high detail, low contrast visuals (like waves at a distance) are often worse-case scenarios for compression.

I’ll be patiently waiting to get Oculus Link into my own hands so I can specifically test against those challenging compression scenarios; so far, however, the visual experience with Oculus Link was head-and-shoulders above any Wi-Fi-based streaming solution that I’ve seen to date.

PC Tethering on Quest is a Huge Upgrade, Making Rift S a Tough Sell

Unfortunately Oculus didn’t want to answer too many questions about Oculus Link, but did tell us that users can expect that it will enable Quest to act effectively identical to a Rift headset, including access to Dash, Home, etc.

However, we were also told that Oculus Link will allow Quest to play “most” Rift content, but not “all.” They didn’t explain why all apps wouldn’t work, though my gut tells me that there could be some apps that use novel rendering that won’t work with Oculus Link’s unique compression pipeline, or perhaps they’re covering their bases on some other technical edge-cases. They also added that developers could opt out of having their Rift apps work with Quest via Oculus Link if they so choose.

While I didn’t get a direct answer on whether or not Quest could potentially work with SteamVR, signs point to ‘probably’, as Oculus said the PC sees Quest pretty much like any other Rift headset. Rift apps won’t need to be modified in order to work with Oculus Link, which further suggests that SteamVR compatibility should be possible as long as Oculus doesn’t actively try to block it.

Photo by Road to VR

The company confirmed that the Oculus Link connection is not VirtualLink, which means it can plug into any USB 3 port, whether that be with a USB-A or USB-C connector on the PC side.

Additionally, plugging into a USB 3 port directly on the GPU versus one on the motherboard makes no difference, we were told, the rendering tech is the same either way. In fact, in my demo at the show, Quest was plugged into the PC’s motherboard. Further, using Oculus’ premium cable doesn’t change anything about rendering or quality; any other USB 3 cable will work just as well, so long as it’s up to spec.

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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."
  • James Cobalt

    So this is NOT the fiber optic cable, correct? They are doing two cables? An active USB 3.1 Gen 2 and then a USBFiberUSB cable?

    • StarLightPL

      I am genuinely curious if any fiber optic cable would survive all the twisting, bending and stepping on a vr tether has to endure daily :-)

      • Immersive_Computing

        Yes fiber optics do not tolerate constant loading and unloading. The fibre for my broadband has been moved once in years.

        • care package

          How does your example prove anything? So what if your cable has been moved once in years.

          • Immersive_Computing

            Fibre optic cable has minimum bend radius and does not survive regular twisting (loading and unloading); can quickly cause contamination /degradation as the layering (Optic core, optic cladding, buffer, strength material and outer jacket) breaks down. That is why I’m not moving it around…

          • care package

            Yes I am aware of the limitations of fiber. I used optical cables for years. I would hope their cable solution is different somehow to what we are accustomed to in the past. I’d hate to see the same type, where rolling over once in my computer chair breaks it. They can’t be that dumb.

    • Sounds like it’s just one USB 3 cable

      • James Cobalt

        Yep. AndroidCentral claims this IS the fiber optic cable – so just one option. It’s a very good price compared to market alternatives. Especially since it includes metal lanes for power transfer.

        • Interesting, I knew there were discrete adapters but I’ve never come across an all-in-one cable in the wild. I see Corning makes them so they should have a scalable path to market at least. I talked to someone from CommScope a while ago and they were pitching a long-range POE optical cable as well, which is kind of the same solution for different reasons, but I believe that’s still only available with optical ends.

  • GunnyNinja

    “Additionally, plugging into a USB 3 port directly on the GPU versus one on the motherboard makes no difference”. What Graphics card has a usb port?

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Cards which have virtuallink like some of the RTX cards have, but it will only work in real USB mode, not virtuallink

  • Hans Haberschlachter

    I would like to know more about cable length. I need 7 Meters to access my play space. So how long is the official cable out of the box, and can i use an extension?

    • Gerald Terveen

      They are going with a 5m cable it seems. Hope they will have a longer option too!

      • asdfasdfasdf

        it should just be a decent usbC cable right?

        • Gerald Terveen

          As far as I know yes – but I am curious what kind of connectors are supported on the PC end. I don’t have a usbC port on my VR rig and hope I can use a USB3 to USBc cable. But I wait and see what Oculus tells us to get and if need be I will have to add a card with the correct port too.

          • JakeDunnegan

            I’d be surprised if it works since the bandwidth is about twice as much with USBC

  • Zac Zidik

    Will it work for live Debugging in the Unity Editor like a Rift does?

    • sebrk


  • Xron

    SO what specs should Usb3 cable have? -.-
    10GB? or 5GB enough?

  • Simple O’Rourke

    Kind of feel like Oculus kicked me in the nuts for buying the Rift S as a first time VR buyer.

    • Jeremy Kins

      Nah, there’s still reasons to have the Rift S. Higher refresh rate, additional tracking camera, more comfortable, etc. Don’t feel entirely burned. :)

  • Andrew Dilks

    Does anyone have the list of games this will enable you to play? Can anyone speak to the quality of the visuals when playing natively on the Quest or compared to Desktop class headset?

    • sebrk

      Why don’t you try to read the article?

  • The Bard

    Since a longer time I feel like this portal, RoadtoVR is a tube to advertise Oculus, Facebook, Beat Saber and few other companies. NO SINGLE WORD in this article about 72 fps with Quest connected to PC. Just a few word playing terms. 72 fps is a big minus, but no single word about it in this 2 page article. Really, think what you are doing towards your readers. Be honest! Do not write half-truths…

    • Jeremy Kins

      Probably because it’s very known that Quest runs at 72hz and the Rift S 80hz. Those are without a doubt probably the most known parts of the HMDs aside from LCD versus OLED. And if you have a Quest and actually care about the Link, you’re going to know the Quest’s refresh rate. While yes, that’s a minus, the refresh rate, compared to owning a Rift S or other headset outright, it’s not necessarily a talking point regarding the Link because it’s common sense that the 72hz Quest would run at 72hz using the Link.

  • dota

    I hate PCs
    no space
    it should RIP in ur pocket

  • Zach

    Will the included Quest charter work to connect to PC?