How To Play SteamVR Games on Oculus Quest 2.
The Oculus Quest 2 can be a standalone VR headset, but you can also use it with a computer just like the Oculus Rift. You also don’t have to stick with the Oculus VR library; You can also play SteamVR games with Quest 2!
Yes, and if you still have the original quest, this information applies to you as well.
What Is SteamVR?
There are several Virtual Reality APIs (Application Programming Interface) and SDKs (Software Development Kits) for virtual reality on PC. SteamVR is the standard used by the Steam client and the virtual reality games that run on it. SteamVR also operates as a standalone environment. You get a SteamVR virtual room where you can launch games and otherwise change the virtual reality settings as you see fit.
This is great if you’re using a SteamVR-enabled headset like Valve Index, but Quest 2 uses the proprietary Oculus API and SDK. So he doesn’t understand SteamVR games at all. The good news is that both Valve and Oculus have worked hard to help the Oculus Quest 2 (and other Oculus headsets) work with SteamVR.
Basically what happens is this: if you run a SteamVR game with Oculus connected, it will detect the headset and the two APIs will translate between them. SteamVR games will think your Oculus is a SteamVR headset, and in theory, you won’t get any wiser. For this to work, you need the following:
Your virtual reality computer. Oculus Quest 2. The Quest software is installed on your Windows computer. Your Quest 2 is set up and has its own software on Windows. USB 2.0 cable (preferably 3.0 or 3.1) USB-C to connect Quest via Oculus Link. Alternatively, you’ll need 5GHz Wi-Fi to use the (currently) experimental Oculus Air Link feature. Steam and SteamVR are installed on your computer. Certain SteamVR games such as Half-Life Alyx.
Let’s start with the Oculus Quest equation.
Get Your Quest 2 Set Up on Your PC
You’ve probably already set up Quest 2 on your computer and even played a few games, but if you haven’t already, you’ll have to download the Oculus software from their website and install it. Once you have installed it, you just need to connect it to your computer while the software is running and follow the instructions. Assuming things are going well here, the next step is to solve the SteamVR piece of the puzzle.
Make Sure SteamVR Is Installed
We’ll assume that you know you’ll have to install Steam if you want to play SteamVR games, no matter what headset you have. However, SteamVR is not installed by default with Steam.
If you’ve already installed a SteamVR game, the SteamVR software should have been installed automatically. Just search your Steam library for the word “SteamVR”. You can find it in the store just like any other Steam app if it’s not there.
After installing the Oculus software, SteamVR, and at least one SteamVR game, let’s see how to play it.
Method 1: Launch the Game From Oculus Home
If you’re launching the Oculus Home environment, look at the semi-circular control panel and click the icon that looks like a computer monitor. This will bring your desktop into virtual space. Your motion controller will act like a mouse, but you can also use a regular mouse.
Open Steam, then open the SteamVR game of your choice. If this is your first time launching SteamVR or a game, you may need additional configuration, but after that you should launch it directly into the game.
Method 2: Launch the Game From SteamVR Home
Rather than launching the game directly, you can open your desktop in the Oculus software described above and launch SteamVR as a native app. This will take you to your SteamVR home environment. From here, you can launch all of your SteamVR games.
It’s also useful if you want to set up universal VR settings for all SteamVR games before opening the game itself.
Method 3: Just Launch the Game From Steam
If you have a headset plugged in, you can simply launch the SteamVR game on Steam before putting on the headset. When you put on the headset, it immediately immerses you in the game.
Wired or Wireless?
Quest 2 has a feature called Oculus Link. This is the technology he uses as a tethered headset. Oculus Link requires at least a USB 2.0 USB-C cable, but you should use it with USB 3.0 or a better cable if possible. Of course, the port must also be USB 3.0. This will provide more stability and better image quality.
At the time of writing, you also have the option to use the Oculus Air Link. This is the wireless version of Oculus Link that lets you play VR PC games as if you were tethered to your PC. You should only use this feature with a 5 GHz router in close proximity to the Quest 2. It is advisable that your computer is connected to the router via Ethernet and only the headset connection is wireless.
Playing with Air Link (which you’ll need to turn on in the experimental features in Quest 2’s settings) is much more liberating and immersive than cable attachment. However, this depends on ideal network conditions and does not match the image quality and precise latency of the cable.
There is also a third-party alternative to Air Link, and so far we have had more luck with it than with the experimental Air Link solution. You will need to buy the Virtual Desktop app for $ 20, but otherwise everything goes smoothly. For more information, see How to Play Wireless VR PC Games on Oculus Quest with Virtual Desktop.
Having Performance Problems?
While we found bridging the gap between Oculus and SteamVR to be smooth, sometimes things go wrong. Oculus VR games that can be played with the Oculus software are usually flawless except for some unrelated issues, but sometimes the SteamVR version of the same game has performance issues.
If you have a choice at all, it’s usually best to buy the Oculus version of the game if it works on both platforms. If this is a SteamVR-only game, make sure you have the latest version of all software installed.
It’s also worth checking your SteamVR settings when you’re in your SteamVR home environment. There have been instances where the SteamVR client has set the resolution or other headset settings too high for the Oculus headset GPU.
How To Play SteamVR Games on Oculus Quest 2
How To Play SteamVR Games on Oculus Quest 2