An experimental Windows emulator lets you play PC games natively on Quest


An experimental Windows emulator lets you play PC games natively on Quest

Image: Luboš Vonásek

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The developer of WinlatorXR plays System Shock 2 natively on his Meta Quest.

WinlatorXR is based on the Winlator emulator, which allows you to run Windows apps and games on Android devices. WinlatorXR brings experimental Meta Quest integration to Winlator.

With WinlatorXR, you can theoretically run PC games natively on Meta Quest for the first time. Previously, you had to connect your Quest headset to a PC or stream games from the PC to the headset. Developer Luboš Vonásek demonstrates WinlatorXR in a YouTube video by playing System Shock 2.

According to the video, the emulator supports a flat mode and a VR mode.

  • In flat mode, the analog stick acts as a mouse cursor, which enables more accurate control than via a smartphone touch display.
  • In VR mode, head movements are translated into mouse movements, which, according to Vonásek, allows some sort of 3DoF experience. The analog stick is used to activate the arrow keys so that you can move around in games like in a VR port.
  • You can switch between flat and VR mode at any time by pressing the left analog stick.

Vonásek writes that 6DoF support would theoretically be possible and could be added later. For stereoscopy, Reshade integration would be necessary, but this is “out of scope due to performance” according to Vonásek.

The developer does not comment on performance, but it should be clear that only very old and graphically simple PC games can be emulated on Quest.

WinlatorXR has experimental status, but if you want to try it out, you can find the link to the APK in the video description.

Luboš Vonásek is a well-known Quest developer. He created the Pi Launcher for Quest (development discontinued), a VR version of the PSP emulator PPSSPP, and an immersive 180-degree mode for CitraVR.

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