VR gaming is becoming more popular and more accessible to the mainstream, whilst still being somewhat niche as a fairly high powered PC is needed to run some of the more demanding experiences. One of the bugbears of some VR users is the requirement to be tethered by cables to your PC, but Facebook is looking to resolve that issue with Air Link for the Quest 2 headset.
The Quest 2 is a standalone VR headset, meaning that users can play supported titles without the need to be connected to a PC or any other machine; a Facebook account is required though. Whilst the experiences available are still amazing, to get the most out of any VR headset it is best to connect to a high-powered PC.
The Air Link feature acts as a wireless replacement for the Oculus Link Cable, which is a USB-C cable connector that allows the Quest 2 to connect to a VR-capable PC for increased performance to access PC VR games like Half-Life: Alyx. Air Link will essentially enable users of the Quest 2 to use the headset wirelessly from their PC, streaming games to the headset without the need for messy cables. This new feature will be launched in an experimental state with the upcoming v28 update.
Before Air Link’s announcement, there have been some user-created solutions such as Virtual Desktop, which essentially does a similar thing to Air Link, but is not the official method.
As stated by Facebook, “Oculus Link cables will still provide a robust and consistent experience, while those with a strong WiFi setup can choose to stream wirelessly through Air Link.”, further adding that “If you want to charge your headset during your VR exploits, experience the highest-fidelity visuals possible, or if your available WiFi network is congested or unsecured, Link via USB-C cable is the way to go.”.
Apart from needing a pretty beefy PC to begin with, you’ll need to have a 5GHz router and Facebook recommends connecting your computer via ethernet to reduce any latency issues, which is very important for resource-intensive VR games. In addition to the Air Link feature, the new update will also allow the Quest 2 to play games at 120hz, though at the time of writing most VR games cap out at 90hz, so it remains to be seen what titles will include the higher framerate, or retroactively add compatibility in.
It is amazing to see VR taking such huge leaps and bounds, as while the barrier to entry is still relatively high for the best experience, it is far removed from where it was a couple of years ago thanks to the Quest 2 and PSVR, allowing users that don’t own high-end PC machines to experience VR.
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