Although Facebook is discontinuing its PC-only Rift product line, the company says that PC VR content will live on thanks to Oculus Link, which allows Quest and Quest 2 to tether to a VR ready PC and play high-end content. To that end the company is planning a range of upgrades to improve the Oculus Link experience for both headsets.

Oculus Link Upgrades for Quest 2

Though Quest 2 has a lot more power and a higher resolution display than its predecessor, the Oculus Link experience at launch will be little different than what you see on Quest today—it’ll run at 72Hz and at original Quest resolution.

Oculus Quest 2 Review – The Best Standalone Headset Gets Better in (Almost) Every Way

At some point “soon” after launch, according to the company, Oculus Link will be upgraded to take full advantage of Quest 2’s hardware.

For one, the company says Oculus Link will run at 90Hz on Quest 2, and the video encoding will be optimized for headset’s higher resolution. The company is also working to enable Quest’s mobile ASW tech with Link, which could both reduce latency and off-load some of the rendering work to Quest’s mobile processor while freeing up a bit more power on the PC for better rendering performance.

Oculus says that Link will leave its ‘beta’ status behind this Fall, but there’s more upgrades to come. Next year, Oculus tells us, the Link software experience will be natively integrated into the Quest interface.

Oculus Link to be Directly Integrated into Quest Interface

Image courtesy Oculus

Today, when you plug Quest or Quest 2 into your PC, the PC basically treats it like a Rift headset—you see the Rift’s ‘Dash’ interface and the Oculus PC game library. But that means you’re cut off from the rest of the Quest system experience, and you’ll be juggling two wholly different interfaces.

In the future, Oculus plans to integrate the Link experience directly into the Quest interface. Rather than seeing the Rift interface, Link will bring the PC library into the Quest interface, similar to how it presents native games. That means users can continue to use Quest features like hand-tracking, voice commands, and the universal menu.

We’d expect that, for Link users, the Quest library page will populate with a list of the user’s PC-based VR apps. If the user tries to launch one of the apps without already being plugged into their PC, the system would prompt them to connect their Link cable.

Ultimately this will allow Quest users to use Link in a much more seamless way, allowing them to jump back and forth between native and PC-based applications as if they were one in the same.

Quest 2 Official Accessories Include Elite Strap, Elite Battery Strap, Carrying Case, & Fit Pack

The move makes sense from an experience standpoint and also aligns with the company’s decision to discontinue the Rift product line. Ultimately, it heralds the eventual end of the Rift ‘Dash’ interface which has languished in comparison to the many updates that Oculus has heaped onto Quest. Since the company won’t be making PC-only VR headsets in the future, it makes sense to deprecate the PC interface and move to a more unified interface which is built directly into the Quest experience.

Currently, Link allows Quest and Quest 2 to work with both the Oculus PC platform and other PC VR platforms like SteamVR. It’s not clear how this would be impacted by a direct interface integration, but we’ve reached out to Oculus for comment. Update (October 12th, 2020): Oculus says SteamVR compatibility with Oculus Link won’t be impacted by interface changes.

Oculus Link Not Wireless Yet

Image courtesy Oculus

Oculus has said on multiple occasions that it would like to eventually make Oculus Link wireless, but the company hasn’t announced any news on that front beyond saying that they’re still looking into it. The company has proposed that such a solution could run directly over existing home Wi-Fi routers or potentially a USB dongle that would plug into the user’s PC.

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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."
  • johnny

    “Currently, Link allows Quest and Quest 2 to work with both the Oculus PC platform and other PC VR platforms like SteamVR. It’s not clear how this would be impacted by a direct interface integration, but we’ve reached out to Oculus for comment.”
    I would really like to see that comment.. I really hope they won’t ditch SteamVR support… that’s what i’m scared of.

    • Rogue Transfer

      If not at first, it looks like they will eventually now. It just makes business sense for Facebook to lock the Quest 2 to Oculus store PC titles only. If they didn’t intend that, you’d think they’d make it clear up front to the press with this announcement, to prevent any misunderstanding.

      The tighter integration will likely offer less outside sources, gaining them more revenue, rather than losing every cut from people buying all their games from SteamVR on Quest 2.

      Alongside the changes to officially lock down Sidequest announced today too, to only a 100 test users per app:

      • Not sure it would make business sense as they’d lose mostly all PC users in the process. One of biggest Quest’s strenght is to be a mix between an HMD and a console, if it just becomes a console, I’d sell it and never look back.

        • Popin

          I’m not sure what in their past behavior would make you think this is not their goal. They have continued to, from the original launch of the Rift CV1 and the Oculus Rift store, to try to lock both their content to their headsets and lock their headsets to their store.

          They continually try to break revive with updates to the Oculus SDK, and they’ve also done the same thing with trying to break SteamVR’s ability to support it. Facebook will take every opportunity to try to lock down their hardware to their platform as well as lock down content to their store and moves like this for tighter integration will almost assuredly come with more attempts to do so.

          • Sadly, I think you’re right. It baffles me as this looks like a stupid move but it did work for Apple so maybe that’s what they’re trying to do.

            Anyway I don’t plan to buy the Quest 2 because of all the uncertainty around those issues and I guess I’m not the only one, so not sure this is a good move financially for them.

            Let’s hope someone will soon come with a real competitor to the Quest. I don’t see myself going back to a tethered experience so I’ll stick with my Quest 1 for now and I guess I’ll jailbreak it if we ever come to a removal of sideload and SteamVR.

          • Popin

            It baffles me as this looks like a stupid move but it did work for Apple so maybe that’s what they’re trying to do.

            This is explicitly what they are trying to do. This is the entire reason they set out to purchase Oculus in the first place. Zuck sees not being in control of the platform an existential threat to their data mining business. He does not want to be beholden to Apple and Google like they currently are now with mobile access on those platforms.

            He views VR and AR to be the next major leap in computing, similar to the massive shift we’ve had over the past 13 years since the iPhone was presented and smartphones became ubiquitous. Zuck wants Quest, and more so Aria, to be the iPhone of VR & AR where Facebook has full control over everything from the hardware to the OS and integrated store platform.

    • I’m also scared that this will be a way for them to stop me loading any other games for my Rift that I didn’t directly buy from the store too. I play a lot of VR games that I never bought from Oculus on my Rift CV1, and I’d really like to be able to play them all when in PC VR mode going forward too. I think I’ll keep my Rift CV1 for now, just in case–although, if they do lock out this stuff on Quest, I suspect they’ll find a way to do it for my Rift CV1 too via some insidious update to the Oculus PC app.

      • Dave

        iNCEPTIONAL thats rubbish – the rift ui will stay with the rift, they are talking about the quest not the rift. they couldn’t use the same unified ui in the rift, how would the hand tracking work?

        • I’m talking about on Quest 2. I have just bought a Quest 2, I have a Rift CV1, and I want to be able to play all my current VR games on my Quest 2. What I’m scared about is that the Quest 2 will lock me out of this even when I use it plugged into my PC, because now they are saying they are going to bring those games into Quest’s menu directly, which also means they can then choose not to let certain content in too.

    • xyzs

      They better not be…………….. That would be spitting at people’s face.

    • Ad

      At this point it’s the only thing that would wake people up and it would push people to sideload, hack, etc.

  • Just bought a second cv1! :)

  • JesuSaveSouls

    Will the quests high resolution be accessible immediately on a pc ?

  • ChristrutHisalvation

    I recall on the quest when first trying the link to pc.Resolution was very much less and sharpness of the native quest was lost.I was told that a oculus update increased the quest’s pc link resolution.Jesus loves you !

  • Joseph Elwell

    Carmack specifically stated that PCVR would be worse on Quest 2 than
    Quest 1 at launch. He mentioned that Quest 2 will lag more than the
    Quest 1 on top of all the things you mention in this article. They think
    they can fix it. But it’s clearly a shot in the heart of every PCVR
    user to hear that the newest device is a downgrade from the previous
    model on top of Oculus abandoning PC only headsets.

    If you’re looking for a mobile upgrade, Quest 2 is a clear win. If you’re
    looking for a PCVR solution the Quest 1 or Rift S is still were it’s at (if you’re sticking with Oculus)

    • Joseph Elwell

      I think it’s also worth noting that Carmack mentioned nothing about achieving full resolution on the Oculus Quest 2. If that were possible how come we don’t have full resolution on the Quest 1 yet? It sounded more like Oculus is working on making improvements to support 90Hz, not full resolution though.

      • Lucas Cunningham

        I think link’s limitations are mostly hardware limited on the current gen, the q1 can only decode like 150 mbps. Q2 will be much better.

  • The one major fear I have here is that Facebook will use this as a really sneaky way to basically stop us all playing PC VR games on Quest 2 that aren’t officially supported by the Oculus Store or at a stretch run through Steam VR. I have a bunch of VR games on the PC that are not from the Oculus Store and not directly installed on Steam, and I really hope Facebook doesn’t take the *sshole corporate approach and lock me off from playing them.

    • I’m not saying it’s impossible but that would seriously be f****d up and probably make them lose a lot of sales.

      Hopefully, I guess that in the eventuality we come to this, someone should be able to jailbreak the Quest.

      I’d sell my Quest right away if they ever remove sideloading and the possibility to SteamVR, but that’s very unlikely ;)

      • Lucas Cunningham

        I agree with you, but i also think people overestimate the size and influence of the PCVR community relative to the standalone/console
        only market.

  • If support for SteamVR gets removed, the whole community would get very very angry

  • SKD007

    I use to be a Oculus fan and now thanks to FB I hate it now.

    Even then I ordered Q2 and finally canceled it after a day and decided to go with HP G2 as an upgrade for my G1 which has better res already.

    Only problem with G1 is that the controllers are horrible and no wireless access even with WiFi. Also most games don’t work correctly with Windows Mixed reality controllers like Fallout 4 which is a shame.

    Everyone is so eager to support oculus.. they should start abandoning oculus and work towards WMR headset and controllers. Eventually that will be the future..

    • Just helping

      I had the Dell Visor, and was able to play fallour 4 just fine. Still, the rift S was a huge upgrade from that thing. Not visually, they looked about the same in that regard, but in terms of comfort, tracking, controllers, and just general experience. The windows MR headsets are not good for VR gaming, they just aren’t. They’re best suited for sit down, sim experiences, like Elite Dangerous, Flight Sim, or any racing sim.

      • SKD007

        Ya but I can’t stand the crappy dotted resolution of rift s. I bought it and returned it the next day before getting hp Reverb pro. It’s like day and night.

        Rift s I could see the pixel which I hate. Hp Reverb on the other hand is like in the monitor when I set it to 2900×2900 on SteamVR sampling.

        Also now there won’t be any more rift s 2 thanks to FB.

        The only option for me is reverb G2. I am hoping the Collaboration HP did with Ms and steam payed off and they improved tracking and controllers on G2.

  • SKD007

    Good they can have it. I love the rift but I am not willing to let Facebook monitor me now matter the price benefits. I wish HP reverb worked directly with steam VR without Windows mixed reality crap :/

  • Lulu Vi Britannia

    Wait, WHAT?! They’re erasing DASH??! Please no. This is by far the best interface, especially the multi-windows function…
    Link works perfectly currently, it doesn’t need to get more “seamless”. You plug in the headset, it becomes a PCVR headset, period. No need to change anything. Fuck Facebook. I’m still getting the Quest 2, but ffs, they better not remove Dash.