Today at Oculus Connect 6, CTO John Carmack dove into the work the company has done on Oculus Link, the Quest feature which will soon allow the headset to tether to PC to play Rift games. Today this requires a USB3 cable, but the natural next step, Carmack said, is that this will eventually be wireless.

Although Oculus Link requires a tether, it’s effectively a ‘remote’ rendering solution, Carmack explained today during his keynote presentation, which means the type of link between the headset and the PC doesn’t really matter so long as it has the necessary bandwidth, latency, and consistency.

While Oculus chose to go with a tether for Oculus Link as a “first step” (thanks to consistent bandwidth and latency), Carmack was up front that the work is headed toward a wireless solution.

“Clearly we’d like this to work on Wi-Fi eventually,” he said, as he went on to speak about some of the tweaks they’d likely undertake to make the Oculus Link rendering solution work best over a wirelessly.

While rotational tracking on Quest with the current Oculus Link solution is nearly identical in latency to Rift S, positional tracking and controller tracking does have some added latency, Carmack said.

Some of that could be further improved, he said, especially if Oculus can get lower level access to the headset’s underlying hardware. Doing so would allow them to build alternate video architectures which could be more suited to remote rendering, further reducing the latency. From Carmack’s discussion, it seemed this is something the company will continue to pursue.

Hands-on: Oculus Link Makes Quest Feel Like a Native PC VR Headset

Though Oculus is clearly happy enough with the performance of this solution when rendered by a PC in your home, cloud rendering is another matter. Carmack said that he doesn’t currently see a clear path on making VR cloud rendering viable, owed to both increased latency and more inconsistency.

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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."
  • gothicvillas

    tethered vr experience must be perfect, otherwise what’s the point. Interesting regardless

    • MosBen

      The point is that it gives Quest owners more options. They can play with the lower power hardware built into the headset for mobile play, or they can tether to a PC for better-looking software with a tether. It’s not a solution with absolutely no compromises, but it’s certainly adding quite a bit of value to the product.

    • Adrian Meredith

      Not necessarily, depends on the game. Playing say,. The Blu via alvr experimental was pretty much native however obviously beat sabre is a no go. I’d imagine some thing like a stealth or puzzle game would be fine too

  • Michael Slesinski

    wait.. it has to be PHYSICALLY tethered? hahaha ha!

    • Francesco Fazio

      Funny isnt it ?
      “Oculus Quest the standalone VR solution which free you from cables”

      Now it is .. well connect a damn cable lol

      • aasd

        …as an option so u can now get all the tethered games on top of the mobile one…

        Why are you complaining about getting more?? are you fucking stupid?

        This just goes to show you’re here to just bitch. Given more and still find an issue with it….

        • Xron

          Maybe it was just drak humour.

        • Ellie 187

          aasd … your argument won me over. I’m going to buy the Valve Index now instead of the Oculus product. Thank you for making that decision easier for me.

        • People will always be fussing about, It’s good to have more options. Also it’s good that Oculus eats it’s own products, I mean not for FB, but for VR overall, it means fast growth. Honestly I’m often horrified with the way that some people “think”, they just go with thier emotions and later try to rationalize it.

  • Ezerick86

    So we’ll finally get to play The Climb on Quest???

  • aasd

    i love streaming to my quest with alvr and virtual desktop. its all you really need

    • ruvimbo

      how is latency for you? what wifi router do you use?

  • JesuSaveSouls

    This guy Johnny b good carmack originally designed wolfenstein and it was like the first 3d game in the early 90s.Innovative then and now play it in vr at itch.

    • Ellie 187

      Carmack saves souls.

      • Jistuce

        Doomguy frags lost souls.

  • The Bard

    It will be a big shock to Facebook and Oculus, when Samsung releases its lightweight VR headset with 200 FOV, having OLED and manual IPD, wireless option. It will be a hard time for Quest like devices.

    • cirby

      Yeah, I’ve been wondering when one of the LCD/OLED manufacturers would get around to actually making nonplanar displays. Not only does it help the FOV problem, it makes lensing easier for ultrawide images.

      The next step is going to a spherical display, which is (of course) a lot harder to make than a simple flexible display with a curve. There have been some experiments, but not much that really looks good.

      …and Samsung has some pretty nice display technology.

  • dota

    One right idea one step at a time.
    next should be waveguide optics.
    Next to next should be powerful computer in ur pocket.
    Next to next to next should be ray tracing.
    (I am no fortune teller)

    • J

      Powerful computer in your pocket? I mean, to fit in such a small space, it would have to have a new input method… how about a touchscreen input? And it would need to connect to something besides wifi to be useful on the go, so you’d need a network for that. And then you could throw in a (few) camera(s) and VoIP functionality, and a dedicated application marketplace for the customized OS you’d need. And since it would be running on battery, you could use power-efficient ARM processors.

      …oh, it seems I traveled twelve years too far.

      • Zero Kurapika

        Holy shit that sounds like something i would like to get.

        If it was me, something that futuristic might get a weird name like ROBOT or AUTOMATON. And every version of the software would be named after pastries or candy, kind of like CHOCOLATE or COOKIE.

      • Zero Kurapika

        Holy shit that sounds like something i would like to get.

        If it was me, something that futuristic might get a weird name like ROBOT or AUTOMATON. And every version of the software would be named after pastries or candy, kind of like CHOCOLATE or COOKIE.

  • Trenix

    Member few months ago it was all about having a standalone headset without the use of a cord or computer? I member, now those same people want to tether their headsets and also use a computer to power it, lol. Hypocrites, pure herd mentality. You’re the type of people that did the tide pod challenge.

    • J

      No, the type of people that did the tide pod challenge mostly died after doing the tide pod challenge. Turns out consuming laundry supplies is detrimental to one’s health. [citation needed]

  • Jimmy Ray