Do You Need a PC for Oculus (Meta) Quest 2? (No, BUT…!)
In the past, if you wanted to experience virtual reality (VR), you had to be tethered to something. VR required a big, powerful gaming machine.
And there were visual cables, power cables, link cables etc., all connecting you back to that machine.
But as time went on, VR technology got more compact, and far more powerful. Completely untethered VR headsets, like the Oculus Meta Quest, and Quest 2, started to hit the market.
The Quest 2 VR headset is a completely “stand-alone” device. GPUs, CPUs, inside-out tracking – are all built directly into the headset itself.
Do you need a PC for Oculus Quest 2?
No, you don’t need a PC in order to use your Oculus Meta Quest 2. You only need a smart device with the Meta Quest app installed in order to get started. That said, a PC does get you access to free games with SideQuest, and wireless control of your PC using Virtual Desktop.
So, if you’re goal is to get the absolute most out of your Oculus Meta Quest 2, then I highly recommend you use it with a PC.
The added functionality you get is totally worth it.
Oculus Quest 2 requirements
Really, the only extra device you need in addition to your Quest 2, is a smartphone.
To set it up, you’ll start by turning on the the Oculus Meta Quest 2 headset. The moment you turn it on it will prompt you to connect to WiFi.
Once you connect to WiFi, the device will automatically start updating the firmware of the headset, as well as the controllers.
While you wait for the firmware to finish installing, go ahead and download the Meta Quest app to your smartphone or tablet, set up an account and then pair your smart device to your new headset!
As long as your smart device is on the same WiFi network as your Quest 2 headset, they should pair automatically.
And that’s it! Now you can start browsing through the Oculus Meta store, looking for a game that interests you. Once you find one, you can install it directly to your headset.
How to use a PC to enhance your Quest 2 experience
So, as you can see, you do not need a PC in order to use your Quest 2. But a PC does help enhance the experience!
There are really two main benefits to using a PC with your Quest 2:
- Getting access to free games using SideQuest
- Access to the Virtual Desktop app so you can control your PC with your Quest 2 headset
Free Quest 2 games with SideQuest
The official Oculus Meta store has extremely stringent requirements that developers have to follow in-order to get their games accepted.
These requirements help ensure that all the games in the store have a minimum level of quality. But these same requirements can prevent some really good games from making it the store if they fall even just a tiny bit short!
One great example of this is a game called “Crisis VRigade”. It’s a wildly popular arcade game amongst VR enthusiasts, but it was rejected from the Oculus Meta Quest store.
But luckily another store exists that sells games for the Quest 2. It’s called SideQuest.
SideQuest gaming platform
SideQuest is a library of games that were all made for the Quest 2, but are not in the Oculus Meta store. These games range from demos, beta releases, and even full games that simply got rejected from the Oculus Meta store.
NOTE: SideQuest is NOT against any terms of service, and it will not get you into trouble with Meta. It is perfectly safe to use!
Nearly all of the games on the SideQuest gaming platform are free! So if you’re on a budget, but still want to try new things, I highly recommend checking out the games on SideQuest.
And the best part is you can use SideQuest with just about any PC. Here is a great tutorial on how to “sideload” SideQuest games to your Oculus Quest 2 headset in under 2 minutes:
Once you complete this initial setup, sideloading games to your headset is extremely easy.
“Sideloading” is just a term used for loading games onto your Quest indirectly from other sources, outside of the official Oculus Meta store.
In addition to games, SideQuest also provides a bunch of different tools that allow you to modify and improve your VR experience.
You can use SideQuest to change the refresh rate, resolution, video capture size, video capture frame rate and so much more.
All of these changes are harmless to your Quest 2 as they all reset every time your turn off your headset.
Finally, SideQuest can be used to backup game data or transfer the data to another headset. But be aware that this does not work with all games. For example, it doesn’t work with “Lies Beneath”.
This back-up feature is really nice if you don’t want to lose all your game progress when uninstalling a game!
Control your PC using Virtual Desktop
Free SideQuest games are great, but the main way I use my PC with the Quest 2 is with Virtual Desktop.
Virtual Desktop is an app that you can download within the Oculus Meta store. It connects your headset to your PC and allows you to control your PC through the headset!
You can watch movies, use your PC for work, or even play PC VR games wirelessly.
For watching movies or using your PC for work, you do not need a fancy gaming PC. Any PC will work so long as you have a decent wireless connection.
But to play PCVR games (the main reason people use Virtual Desktop) you will need a gaming PC with at least a GTX 1060 graphics card or higher.
If you’re not sure if you PC will work for PCVR games, you can download and run this free “SteamVR performance test”. This test will let you know whether or not your PC can handle PCVR.
If it turns out your PC is capable of playing PCVR games, you can do so with Oculus Meta Link or Virtual Desktop. I prefer using Virtual Desktop because it keeps the Quest 2 wireless during gaming and it works just as good as Link if you have a good connection.
Virtual Desktop also makes it incredibly easy to control your PC in VR. This is especially useful for me when I’m streaming and I either need to pause the steam, or change an overlay or something.
If you’re interested in learning how to turn your Quest 2 into a wireless PCVR headset, here is a great 5 minute guide:
You do not need a PC in order to use your Oculus Meta Quest 2 headset.
That said, a PC does add some functionality to the Quest that greatly enhances the overall VR experience.
- You can access free games from the SideQuest library. These games range from demos, beta releases, and even full games that simply got rejected from the Oculus Meta store.
- You can use Virtual Desktop, an app that connects your headset to your PC and allows you to control your PC through the headset! You can watch movies, use your PC for work, or even play PC VR games wirelessly.
I highly recommend setting up your Quest 2 with a PC if you haven’t already!