Previously leaked by Oculus Support and confirmed by Oculus themselves soon after, update v28 is looking to be their biggest update yet. They are really going all out on this one, so much so that I think they would have wanted to share this at their upcoming event instead of a week early – thanks Support dude!
So what comes with update v28 and why should I be excited…?
Well if you are a PCVR player, looking to work within VR, whilst looking for baby-smooth framerates in your games, then update v28 is an update to get excited about.
Oculus Air Link
Only recently we saw Oculus finally let Virtual Desktop with game support onto the official Oculus store, but it was rumored that Oculus was going to bring their own solution soon. Well, that date has come. Update v28 will bring the early release of their Oculus Air Link feature onto the Oculus Quest platform.
Oculus Air Link allows the use of playing PCVR games over Wi-Fi without the need to connect their PC to their Quest with an Oculus Link cable. Virtual Desktop solved this and smashed it out the park with its 90Hz wireless streaming app, however it will be good to see how well Oculus achieves this albeit native. Both Quest and PC need to be on update v28. This update is available to download now on PC and you will need to go into the beta area and switch Air Link on.
The bar has certainly been raised with how well Virtual Desktop already works on the Quest and Quest 2. With Oculus Air Link being experimental, I expect it to be a lightweight version of what VD offers us already, although Oculus states they will be improving its performance and visual quality, over time, as well as supporting situations when your wireless performance is less than ideal.
The developer of Virtual Desktop also has a number of improvements up his sleeve. It’s likely Oculus will only support its own platform of games and we may still require Virtual Desktop to play games across Steam. So let the battle commence!
Bring your desktop and keyboard into VR
The next feature coming to update v28 is more improvements to Oculus’ Infinite Office. This update will bring the ability to bring your desktop surface as well as physical keyboard into your Oculus Home space. The idea of this sounds better than its use to me. Unless Oculus makes this work with their Oculus Link (Air Link) where you have full control of your PCVR machine whilst in VR.
Desktop in VR is another experimental feature, where you can map your desktop space and it will be projected in your Oculus Home environment. If you have been busy making virtual couches in your Guardian space, you will already know how this works – and of course, you can sit on your desk too.
If you are one of the rare owners of a Logitech K830 keyboard, you can bring this keyboard into your VR space also, by enabling the keyboard tracking feature in the Settings > Device area. More keyboards will also be supported in the future, and Oculus asks for your keyboard to be on a flat surface that is will-lit. If you use the Oculus Browser a lot, then these two features might be right up your street.
120 Hz support on Quest 2
This is a new feature that was originally scheduled to launch much sooner, but it was pushed back by Oculus. Releasing with update v28, again as an experimental feature, developers will have the ability to unlock support for baby smooth 120 Hz mode in their apps. The Oculus Home environment will be set to 90 Hz, likely to maintain battery life. Certain games will likely struggle to release at 120 Hz, but when those that do are release, expect some smooth frame rates that will enhance the game as much as it did when we went from 72 to 90 Hz.
As the headline says, only Quest 2 will support 120 Hz, for now.
Currently Oculus has adopted a dark theme throughout its menu system. Update v28 will bring in a Light theme option that will allow users of the Quest headset a brighter, lighter menu system for those that prefer this option or have a disability that doesn’t work with the default darker theme.
Usually, platforms launch a light theme and introduce a darker theme, but seeing as Oculus launched with this dark theme first, this makes good sense. Many find reading text better on a white background than black or darker backgrounds. Let’s hope the theme change is universal and its adopted across all apps, as this is an issue I always find on iOS Dark mode where some apps don’t fully support the theme change.
Hand Tracking improvements
Update v28 is also said to bring updates and improvements to Oculus’ great hand tracking feature. Improvements have been made when you pinch the cursor, the cursor will not move. So less missed selections with this update.
Hand tracking has been slowly improving, both officially and also in a handful (sorry) of apps and games that are already available on the Oculus Store, App Lab, and SideQuest platforms. It is far from replacing controllers, especially in some games that will not be a perfect fit for hand tracking, but for menu and movie watching, hand tracking is a great replacement already for experiencing this content.