I’ve reviewed the Oculus Quest separately, but in short it’s a really impressive piece of technology that’s ‘good enough’ graphics wise, and great at everything else.
If you’re a tinkerer however, you’ll want to do more than just use whatever is on offer via the Oculus Quest store. Here’s some free 3rd party utilities to get more out of your VR device:
SideQuest – This is an app to install on your PC which lets you sideload (install) apps outside of the Oculus Quest store. As the device is running on Android, if you’ve played around in that space before you’ll be fairly comfortable with this. Follow the Guide to set this up, you can’t break or brick your device but you could make things a bit messy; worst case is a factory reset.
At a very high level, you’re creating an Oculus Quest developer account (incredibly easy), and allowing 3rd party app installs to your device. Any app loaded via SideQuest won’t appear with a nice giant picture in the main screen, they’re found under Library > Unknown Sources.
There’s a bunch of specially built games and apps for the Oculus Quest already, as well as free betas of games that will launch later. If you’re looking for more free content for your device, this is the easiest way to get it installed.
SideQuest also has detailed Beat Saber integration where you can download and sync custom songs to play using bsaber.com as well as the ability to manage existing apps installed on the device – uninstall, clear data etc.
Scrcpy– This is a utility to run on a computer, that lets you mirror the view from inside the headset. Natively, the Oculus Quest can do some screen sharing via Chromecast, or mirroring to a mobile device, but it’s app dependent, and in beta.
Scrcpy has the ‘negative’ point of giving you the actual view from the headset, as in two giant round circles of graphics rather than a single rectangle view, but it’ll work in all scenarios. It’s really handy when you are trying to talk someone else through how to do something. You can reduce the view to a single circle with certain parameters when running (more below).
It’s possible to do this wirelessly and works quite well. Here’s a batch file you can run that’ll connect the Oculus Quest and launch the viewer. Note you will just see a black screen in the program until the Quest’s sensor starts displaying something.
@echo off echo Plug in the Oculus Quest via USB-C pause for /f "tokens=9" %%a in ('adb shell ip route') do (echo IP of Oculus GO: %%a&set ipaddr=%%a) adb tcpip 5678 echo Unplug the Oculus Quest's USB-C Cable pause adb connect %ipaddr%:5679 echo Connected! Launching scrcpy... scrcpy.exe -c 1440:1600:0:0
ALVR (Air Light VR)- This is a utility to run on a computer to be able to use the Oculus Quest like any other VR device that would be plugged directly in (such as an Oculus Rift S).
This opens up a huge library of games and programs to run. You can play any Steam VR game this way – but really fast moving games like Beat Saber can be a bit sensitive to the latency added by wireless – but another game like Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality works perfectly. A 5GHz router is recommended for this for higher throughput, and the Oculus Quest supports this too.
Side note: Virtual Desktop does the same as ALVR, but it’s a paid product. Early on they were about the same, but Virtual Desktop seems to be a better and smoother experience now, so could be worth considering if you like ALVR.
With these three free solutions, you can get a lot more out of your Oculus Quest. Opening up the Steam library, being able to see what the wearer of the headset is seeing, and being able to add apps outside the Oculus ecosystem all add a lot of extra value to this already impressive (in my opinion) device.