Oculus is announcing that wireless PC streaming, a 120Hz refresh rate, and improvements to Infinite Office will be coming to the Oculus Quest 2 with the v28 software update, which the company says will be rolling out soon.
Infinite Office is a feature that Oculus includes as part of Oculus Home, which lets users work in a virtual environment. With the v28 update, Infinite Office will have an experimental feature that allows users to add a virtual desk where their real-life desk is, letting users know where they can sit and put real-life physical objects down without having to leave VR. The Quest 2 will also be able to show a virtual representation of the Logitech K830 keyboard, though Facebook says that support for visualizing more keyboard models will be coming in the future.
Another feature coming with the update is the ability to stream games or applications from your desktop PC wirelessly. Oculus calls its wireless streaming feature Air Link, named after the Link cable that can be used to connect the headset to a PC. The feature will only work well with some network setups — the instructions to turn it on are pretty clear that you’ll need good Wi-Fi to get an acceptable experience, and that the Link cable will still provide the best visual quality.
Facebook says that it hasn’t ruled out the possibility of bringing Air Link to the original Quest at some point in the future, but it does say that it’s “focused on optimizing Air Link to be the best possible experience for Quest 2 first.”
We do know that the original Quest hardware is capable of wireless PC streaming, because indie developer Guy Godin has built it into his app, Virtual Desktop. The app gives users a virtual space to use their computers in, and it also supports streaming games over Wi-Fi. This is, however, where we have to talk about the controversy.
If you thought the description of Virtual Desktop sounded a little like Facebook’s Infinite Office, you’re not alone — Godin has been talking about how Facebook has been essentially building his app idea into its own Oculus experience then offering it for free for a while now. His case may have been helped by the fact that Facebook blocked the update that allowed Virtual Desktop to be used wirelessly until early this year, requiring users to go through a complicated sideload procedure to get the functionality working.
UploadVR talked to Godin about Facebook introducing Air Link, and got this comment from him:
“In 2017, Facebook copied the base functionality of Virtual Desktop on Rift and incorporated it in their platform, essentially making my app obsolete. I’m not surprised to see them do this again on Quest. They copied the fitness tracking app YUR last year and released Oculus Move; essentially killing the company. They also released App Lab as they saw how popular SideQuest was. That’s what they do. If you have a popular app on Quest today, expect Facebook to copy you and leave you in the dust. As for the fate of Virtual Desktop on Quest, we will have to see how Facebook’s solution competes. Judging by the number of issues plaguing Oculus Link today, I’m confident Virtual Desktop will remain a valuable solution for a while. I’ve also got a lot of cool features in the works that I can’t wait to share with the community.”
Despite the warnings about Facebook copying ideas, he still seems confident in his ability to compete. It’s an open question as to how well Air Link will work initially, and how fast improvements will come.
The update also includes an experimental mode for 120Hz refresh rates, up from the current 90Hz, and the original 72Hz. It’s a slight delay from Oculus’ original estimated March launch. Oculus’ post hints that you many not immediately get to try it out — the Quest 2’s software will still run at 90Hz, so you won’t get to see what it looks like until developers release builds of their games and software that can run at the higher refresh rate. The wait may not be that long, though: Guy Godin has already tweeted that he’s got a 120Hz update for Virtual Desktop ready to go when v28 becomes available.