Have you ever wished that you owned your own private movie theater? Wouldn’t it be cool to play your video games on a huge screen? These are exactly the things that Virtual Desktop promises to make possible. All you need is a $200 Oculus Go VR headset. Do they deliver on these promises? Let’s find out!
What is Virtual Desktop?
The idea behind Virtual Desktop is a simple. It’s a streaming App that allows you to access your computer’s desktop through your Oculus Go. Virtual Desktop expands on the basics by providing you with a variety of virtual environments to enjoy (like movie theaters and offices).
Beyond environments, Virtual Desktop can be customized in many ways. You can adjust your streaming bitrate, compression, environment quality, and framerate. They also support gamepads and overclocking.
Is it good for Gaming?
Using Virtual Desktop is an easy experience. You can do just about anything that you would normally do when using your PC. It includes controller support, so gaming is pretty straight forward. Simply select a virtual environment, launch your game, and play.
Virtual Desktop uses Oculus Go’s motion controller as a mouse. We found it to be very accurate when compared to similar streaming Apps (like Moonlight). The virtual mouse is good enough for point-and-click content (like Hearthstone). It’s not the best choice for reaction-intensive gaming.
You’ll want to use a gamepad for faster-paced content. Oculus Go supports the Xbox One S bluetooth controller, and its very easy to use in Virtual Desktop. Simply enable controller support in the App’s settings and you’re ready to go. We found input latency to be extremely low and very similar to what you’d experience in other streaming Apps like Parsec. Virtual Desktop’s video quality and low latency make it an excellent choice for gaming.
Because we are dealing with streaming, Virtual Desktop requires solid networking in your home. You’ll achieve the best results if your PC is wired to your router and your Headset is connected to 5 Ghz Wifi.
Virtual Desktop works by connecting two pieces of software together. You’ll need to install their client App on your Oculus Go and their server App on your PC. The two Apps get linked together through your Oculus account.
Your host PC can be fairly light-weight depending on what you’re doing. If you plan on streaming movies and video content, then you’ll be able to use just about any computer. For gaming you’ll need something that is capable of powering your games while encoding a video stream. Many of you will be happy to learn that Virtual Desktop works with Windows 8.1 (although Windows 10 is recommended).
So far we’ve talked a lot about how great Virtual Desktop is. It’s really impressive and it’s become our go-to for PC Gaming on the Oculus Go. While it gets many things right, there are still a few lingering opportunities.
You may have noticed that we haven’t mentioned Mac computers at all in this article. That’s because they aren’t supported as hosts at this time. The developer of Virtual Desktop is aware of the Mac Community and may support them in the future. There are two additional opportunities that are worth noting.
Virtual Desktop can only display a single monitor from your computer. So if your host PC has multiple displays attached, you’ll only be able to access the primary. It also lacks support for displaying 3D content. You’ll need to wait a bit longer before enjoying your collection of 3D movies through Virtual Desktop.
EDIT: The developer of Virtual Desktop clarified that these features have been implemented. Simply press the trigger while pointing outside of the screen to bring up the Desktop toolbar. From there you can enable various 3D Modes and you can cycle through connected monitors.
Last but not least
Virtual Desktop is available for $9.99 in the Oculus App Store. There is no subscription, and you’re welcome to use it as much as you want. Virtual Desktop supports remote access, so you’re not restricted to using it on your home network. Keep in mind that you’ll need decent internet upload speed if you plan on streaming it outside of your home.
As a little bonus, some users have reported that Virtual Desktop works well with Cloud Services like Shadow. If you don’t own a powerful PC, you can still enjoy gaming in VR through a Cloud Gaming service.
In this article we’ve focused on the Virtual Desktop App for Oculus Go. There is a version of Virtual Desktop that is available for the Rift and Vive. It’s inherently a bit different, so most of what we’ve covered won’t apply. However it’s still worth checking out if you own one of those headsets.
If you’d like to see Virtual Desktop in action on Oculus Go, take a look at the video below.
Josh is a long-time Gamer and Technology Guru. He is known for his writing and troubleshooting skills. Josh can solve just about any problem, and is especially good at getting to the bottom of technology challenges. He has a background in Networking and holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology degree. When he’s not gaming, Josh can be found blogging, testing new tech, and interacting with Flickstiq’s social media following. He lives in Ohio with his wife and children.