Gaming

Virtual Desktop (Review)

One of the first apps I bought when I picked up my Oculus Quest was Virtual Desktop. The idea of kicking back on a couch and playing some of my favourite PC games was too tempting to ignore. After picking up Virtual Desktop from the Oculus Store on my Quest I am so impressed with the features of this application. It adds an extra depth to the already very impressive Oculus Quest.

I think Virtual Desktop paired with the Quest is great. You have the freedom of the tether-less Quest, while streaming your perfect movie or game. There are two versions of the software: one for the PC type headsets (like the Rift and Vive etc) while the other is aimed at the mobile headsets (Quest, Go etc). It is important to note that they are quite different and have varying hardware requirements, so make sure you purchase the appropriate one for your VR Headset.

Feature rich, you have a lot of settings you can modify / tweak to get the most out of Virtual Desktop.

I’m amazed how good the virtual desktop looks using this app. On the Quest there is hardly any screen door effect when using the app. I’ve been playing some classic games, like Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010) and Alien: Colonial Marines (2013, with the amazing Overhaul v5 mod). It is an absolute joy playing on a giant screen in the comfort of a couch. What is even more impressive is that Virtual Desktop also supports an easy configurable screen size, curvature, height and distance from the screen. All you need to do is use your Oculus Touch controller and click above the virtual screen, and you can make these adjustments very easily.

Even more impressive is combined with awesome PC shaders like ReShade (4.30) you can adapt many games to run in 3D (SBS) with the Virtual Desktop. The two games mentioned running in glorious 3D (I admit, I’m a 3D tragic) is absolutely outstanding. To adjust the 3D mode, just click below the virtual screen and select the type of 3D mode you need. Obviously watching 3D movies can also benefit as well.

In the Mobile version of Virtual Desktop, you can pick from a number of virtual environments. Just fantastic.

Another feature that Virtual Desktop supports via a process called side-loading is the use of playing VR games in Steam. No doubt if you browse the net you’ll see quite a few articles on how this “experimental” feature was removed from the native Virtual Desktop app. You can however sideload the modified SteamVR enabled apk of the application, as long as your have purchased Virtual Desktop.

This does involve a few steps, but for anyone who has some IT background, it is quite achievable. I will not go into detail of how to do this here, but there are numerous “how to” YouTube videos and websites outlining this process. I do think this additional feature is amazing, and will allow developers (and gamers) alike to further refine and continue to provide more community benefits to the Oculus Quest.

For the Quest version of Virtual Desktop, it is important you have a decent Wi-Fi router. In order to getting decent streaming quality (up to 100mbps for VR, about 32mbps for normal desktop) you’ll need to ensure your Wi-Fi is 5Ghz and running hopefully on a 80Hz supported channel. Virtual Desktop will adapt the mbps connection depending on the speed of your WiFi. I’d recommend you go with at least a dual-band, or triple-band router if you can.

Clicking above the screen allows you to change the way you want your virtual screen to work.

My experiences on my modem / router provided by my ISP is that I do get a few stutters occasionally, but being PC (with the plethora of different hardware options available), there could be a number of things causing this. I am going to be setting up a tri-band router (the Netgear Orbi RBK-40) this week so I will report back on how that goes with Virtual Desktop. I think at the very least dedicating the 5Ghz WiFi to Virtual Desktop and the Oculus Quest will provide the best results.

For the record too the developer, Guy Godin (ggodin) is also very approachable and continues to assist users via the forums and discord channel. I am very impressed at how passionate he is to try and provide the best virtual desktop streaming service available. Guy is the real deal, and I am more than happy to support his ongoing vision for Virtual Desktop. It is the best application on the Quest.

In the near future I will write a blog post on how to use ReShade 4.30 to enable 3D (and other effects) and play using the Quest and Virtual Desktop. For now, rest assured you will not be disappointed in picking up Virtual Desktop for your appropriate VR platform.

Stock images used. Mobile (Quest / Go) version of the application reviewed.

Virtual Desktop can be found on the Oculus Store, or visit the website – https://www.vrdesktop.net/

Categories: Gaming

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