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Facebook announced the upgrade at its Oculus Connect 6 VR developer’s conference in September and, when Oculus Link arrives sometime in November, the Oculus Quest all-in-one wireless VR headset will be able to convert into a PC-powered mode over a new wired connection that runs Rift games.
We know a lot of VR users are highly anticipating the release, so we’ve broken down everything we already know, and confirmed a few extra details, to get you ready for the launch.
What is Oculus Link?
Oculus Link is a software update coming for Oculus Quest that will allow Quest owners with a VR-ready PC to use their Quest as a Rift — while tethered by a cord to their computer. In the words of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the OC6 keynote, “this means that starting in November when we ship this update, your Quest is basically a Rift now too!”
So you should be able to play graphics and processor-intensive Rift games like Asgard’s Wrath and Stormland on the Quest via Oculus Link, as well as access Rift services such as Oculus Home and Oculus Dash. We went hands-on with an Oculus Link demo at OC6 and you can read our impressions here.
For those unfamiliar with Facebook’s VR efforts, the company essentially operates two VR platforms. One runs on Windows gaming PCs and the other is an Android-based standalone platform. 2016’s Oculus Rift and 2019’s Oculus Rift S run on high-end (and expensive) gaming PCs with powerful desktop-class processors designed by Nvidia, AMD and Intel. 2018’s Oculus Go and 2019’s Oculus Quest are the standalone systems which pack processors and battery into the headset itself.
Oculus Link, then, essentially aligns these two Oculus VR systems for Facebook around the Oculus Quest hardware. For owners of a VR-ready PC and a Quest, it’ll be like a new mode for the Oculus Quest that turns it into a kind of Oculus Rift Q. Link allows Quest owners to exchange wireless freedom for higher end graphics and simulation that only a wired PC can provide right now.
When will it launch?
Oculus Link is planned to launch with a beta release sometime in November.
We asked Facebook if they could be more specific with both timing of the release and hardware requirements. A Facebook representative wrote in an email “you can expect to see it launch via updates to both Rift and Quest software that will both be required to make it work.”
What do I need?
Oculus Link essentially makes the Quest act as if it is an Oculus Rift Q. This means, first and foremost, your computer will need to have specifications that make it ready to run PC VR games. The required specifications can be quite intensive and you can refer to our guide on ensuring your computer is ready for PC VR for more information.
In addition to a computer that can handle PC VR games, for Oculus Link you’ll also need a cord to tether your Quest to your PC. Oculus is planning to release their own official Oculus Link cord, which is a thin, flexible, 5 meter-long fiber optic cable. It is planned to offer consistent performance and, in some cases, charge your Quest while you play Rift games via Link, ensuring the Quest’s battery won’t run out mid-session.
According to Zuckerberg during the OC6 Keynote, the official Oculus Link cable will “maximize the throughput – it’ll charge your Quest if your PC supports that too.” However, the official Oculus Link cord does not have a set release date and will not release alongside the November beta. It will be available to purchase online “sometime later this year” after the November beta software releases.
This means if you want to use Oculus Link in beta, you will need to have your own cord.
“Oculus Link is designed to work with most high-quality USB-3 cables,” according to Facebook.
Facebook has not yet provided details on the specific requirements for Link to operate effectively. We asked specifically what’s needed to charge and play at the same time and a Facebook representative responded “the team is actively testing [cord requirements] as we prepare for beta release so we’ll have more details to share on that soon.”
An Oculus Product Manager recently commented on a Reddit post to clarify that the specifications of the official Oculus Link cable will be made publicly available, so third parties will be able to build their own equivalent with the same specifications as the official cable if they wish to do so.
You can expect more details before the beta release soon.
What games and services will it work with? Will I be able to use SteamVR?
As mentioned above, you will be able to play Rift games and access Rift services such as Oculus Home and Oculus Dash. During an OC6 panel on Oculus Link, a keynote slide indicated Link would allow you play the “majority of the Rift library” on your Quest. Facebook told us that developers will be able to opt out of Oculus Link support if they choose to do so.
We previously reached out to Facebook to confirm whether you would be able to run Rift-compatible Steam content on the Quest via Oculus Link. “Yes. When you tether your Quest to your PC with Oculus Link, you will be able to operate the headset the same way you do Rift,” a Facebook representative wrote in their email response.
We’ll believe this truly when we test it ourselves, but this should mean Link would work with popular Rift-compatible Steam content such as Skyrim VR and No Man’s Sky VR. Given this response, and a tweet from the President of Viveport at HTC, it seems Link is expected to work with Rift-compatible Viveport content as well.
This story originally appeared on Uploadvr.com. Copyright 2019
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