The weird thing about using Virtual Desktop in VR is that you have to sit in front of a real desktop when using it. I’m sitting at my desk in a regular chair as I always do, my hand on the keyboard as it always is, but I’m wearing a headset and looking at a virtual copy of my real screen — one that’s hard to read thanks to the Quest 2’s lower resolution. I can see how that might help some people. On reducing distractions around them, and being able to resize the screen and have it follow your eyes are interesting benefits, but they were never worth it to me. I paid a lot for my country Samsung Odyssey G9 Ultra Wideand I don’t see the point of looking at a simulation of it when the real thing is right here.
However, the GameVRoom app on Steam once again had me guessing. Instead of using a controller or a mouse and keyboard to interact with Remote Desktop, GameVRoom allows you to associate the buttons on Quest 2 controllers with Steam games. Its functionality is pretty straightforward, but it opens up a lot of gameplay opportunities. Now, I can play my entire Steam library in VR anywhere I want. I can sit on the couch, lie in bed, or climb into the shower, have a fully customizable view of my desktop, and a simple way to control my games.
The app has a very intuitive system for assigning your keys to Quest 2 controllers. It takes a lot of cues from the Steam Controller and tries to make getting started as hassle-free as possible by providing a user-generated database of configuration options. There are default maps to choose from based on the type of game you’re playing, but if someone else comes up with a specific layout that works better for your game, you don’t have to mess with the settings yourself, they can just use what they have. GameVRoom is only in Early Access, and it’s a pretty niche app, so as you can imagine, there aren’t a lot of custom control schemes yet. Fortunately, the default games worked fine in most of the games I played.
While it’s possible to hook up a controller to the Quest 2 and play desktop games remotely, it can be cumbersome to mess around with multiple controllers while wearing a headset, and the Bluetooth connection puts a lot of strain on the battery. GameVRoom solves these problems while offering more customizations. Not only can you map controller buttons to VR controllers, but you can also simulate a mouse by dragging the correct controller around. You can also create placement actions and gestures to replace key bindings. Instead of holding the A button to swing a sword, you can move the controller, or instead of holding the trigger to accelerate a motorcycle, you can twist your wrist to simulate turning the throttle. You can also create virtual buttons and place them wherever you want in the virtual environment, then you just have to reach out and physically press the button. If you’re willing to take the time to tinker with it, you can create some really unique ways to interact with the games.
It was a lot of getting around my brain (and hands), and I struggled to adjust to using the Quest 2 controller like a mouse. I guess it’s something I can get used to, but after so long playing on a mouse and keyboard, it was hard to do a lot of those control choices. Navigating a VR game in an almost natural way is one thing, but playing something that wasn’t designed for VR, like Midnight Suns or Monster Hunter Rise, with motion controls isn’t easy. Even moving the mouse to look around in a shooter like Doom Eternal felt weird and unnatural at first, but I eventually started to get used to it.
I also had a hard time getting the program to work without overloading Quest 2 and my computer. Just to play a game through GameVRoom, you first have to stream your PC to your headset through the Oculus app using Airlink, launch the SteamVR interface, launch GameVRoom from within SteamVR, and then launch your chosen game from within GameVRoom. All of these layers of processing gave my PC a heart attack, and I found that streaming games on the 5120 x 1440 HD display was completely out of the question. I eventually got it to work fairly stable by freeing up my processor and memory as much as possible and limiting the resolution, but it took a lot of trial and error to get it working.
It will never replace playing games on my desk, but the GameVRoom’s features were fun to play with. One thing I haven’t had a chance to check out yet is the multiplayer mode, which allows you and your friends to play non-VR games in co-op on a sectional couch, in VR. I use Steam Remote Play often to play couch co-op games with my friends, and love the idea of a little extra immersion where we’re all sitting in a virtual room together playing Overcooked or Unrailed. There is a lot of potential for a truly remote desktop experience like this, and the developers of GameVRoom have really implemented some really innovative ideas into the app.
GameVRom launched into Early Access on Steam last month. You can learn more about it on its site Steam pageAnd you can join Its official Discord server To ask questions and make suggestions for future development.