How To Use The Oculus Rift VR Headset For Gaming

Oculus Ready - How To Use The Oculus Rift VR Headset For Gaming

Here’s our quick setup guide on how to use the Oculus Rift VR headset for gaming.

You will need:

  • An Oculus Rift ready PC
  • To make sure your PC is connected to the internet
  • To update your graphics card (GPU) driver (details below)
  • Your new Oculus Rift headset, Oculus sensor, Oculus remote, and Xbox controller.

Is Your PC ready?

Oculus Ready - How To Use The Oculus Rift VR Headset For Gaming

Firstly, make sure your PC is equipped to deal with your new virtual reality experience!
The better your PC, the better the experience.

As a minimum you will need:

  • Processor: Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350 (equivalent or better)
  • Graphics card: NVIDIA GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 (equivalent or better)
  • RAM: 4GB or more
  • Video output: One HDMI 1.4 or one DisplayPort 1.2
  • USB: One USB 2.0
  • OS: Windows 7 or newer

If you don’t have the minimum requirements listed above, check out our post on building an affordable VR gaming PC or if you want to go full out check out our picks for the best VR gaming PC.

Setting up your Oculus Rift – Hardware:

Oculus Rift advise you to start by updating your graphics card (GPU) driver to the latest public version.

Update your graphics card (GPU) driver

This gives your Rift the highest possible resolution, fastest response, and most convincing virtual reality experience. The Oculus software will prompt you to update your driver during setup if it’s out of date and restart once your driver has been updated.


Install the NVIDIA GeForce Experience, if you don’t already have it. This is NVIDIA’s own software designed to help you with driver updates.

  • On your Windows desktop, open the system tray in the lower right. (Click the upward-facing arrow to the left of your status icons to open hidden icons if you need to.)
  • Click the green NVIDIA icon
  • Select Open NVIDIA GeForce Experience
  • Open the Drivers tab
  • Click Check for updates
  • Download the current (64-bit) driver for your graphics card
  • Choose the Express Install option and follow the prompts


  • Right-click your Windows desktop and select AMD Radeon Settings or AMD Catalyst Control Center.
  • Select Information.
  • Select Software Update.
  • Click Check for updates now.
  • Download the current (64-bit) driver for your graphics card.
  • Launch the downloaded file and follow the prompts

Setting Up The Rift


This is the most exciting bit in our “How to Use the Oculus Rift VR Headset for Gaming!”

Unbox the Rift headset, Oculus sensor, Oculus remote, and Xbox controller!


  • Remove the protective film from the headset lenses
  • Connect the HDMI end of the headset cable to the HDMI port on your graphics card
  • Connect the USB end of the headset cable to a USB 3.0 (blue) port on your computer
  • Connect the sensor cable to another USB 3.0 (blue) port on your computer

You’ll see three green icons in the lower left of the Oculus screen indicating that the headset and sensor have both connected successfully.

Click Next.

Updating Firmware

Your Rift needs the latest firmware to make sure it performs at its very best.

  • Click Update Now on the firmware update screen


While updating don’t unplug the Rift headset or Oculus sensor or turn off your computer.

Connect Your Oculus Remote

  • Gently pull the clear plastic tab out from the battery door on the back of the remote
  • Press and hold the select button, which is in the centre of the navigation disk, to pair the remote with your headset.

Connect Your Xbox One Wireless Controller

The Xbox controller will improve gameplay and navigation.

  • FInd the Xbox wireless adapter, USB extender cable, and 2 AA batteries—they’re in the compartment under the Oculus sensor
  • Install the 2 AA batteries into the Xbox controller
  • Press the Xbox button in the centre of the controller to power it on. The Xbox button will light up
  • Connect the Xbox wireless adapter to any open USB port on your computer. For best performance, don’t use a USB hub

Note: For the best possible connection strength, Oculus Rift advise you to use the USB extender cable to connect the Xbox wireless adapter to your computer.

  • Press and hold the sync button on the side of the Xbox wireless adapter. The LED will blink
  • Press and hold the sync button on the front edge of the Xbox controller. The Xbox button will flash while pairing

The Xbox controller is now connected.

Setting up your Oculus sensor

The Oculus sensor allows apps and games to track your position and movement.

  • Enter your correct height when asked.
  • Remove the protective film from the sensor lens
  • Find a good place for your Oculus sensor, ideally:
    • Between 1 m and 2 m away from your head
    • In an unrestricted area
    • Where you’ll normally be facing
    • On a stable surface
    • Slightly above your headset if you can
  • Take the Rift headset to the spot where you plan to use it
  • Make sure the sensor lens is pointing at your head
  • Adjust the angle of the sensor body on the sensor stand if necessary
  • Hold the headset just in front of you and move it slowly side to side.
  • You may also need to swing it gently down toward the floor and back up in front of your head

The Oculus sensor should find your headset.

Setting up Touch

Touch controllers give you hand presence.

If you haven’t already, connect your second sensor. You’ll be prompted to set up Touch, including the correct arrangement for your second sensor.

Follow the on-screen prompts to make sure your sensors are set up at the correct distance and angle for proper tracking.

Setting up the Guardian System

The Guardian System lets you map out a play area where you’ll use the Oculus Rift and its controllers. You’ll get an alert when you’re near the boundaries of your play area.

Follow the on-screen prompts to map out the largest possible play area from the available space in your room. Be sure there aren’t any hazards within the boundaries of your play area.

Personalize Your Oculus Rift

Personalize Your Oculus Rift How to use Oculus Rift

Adjust your Oculus Rift headset

  • Open the side tabs on the main strap. Fasten the tabs to the middle of the strap arms as a starting point
  • Open the top tab, loosen the top strap all the way, and leave it loose.
  • Angle the On-Ear Headphones outward

To put on the headset and test the fit:

  • Hook the tracking triangle on the back of your head
  • Then pull the headset body down over your face in one smooth motion

If you need to wear glasses with Rift, you can put on the headset a different way:

  • Hold the headset onto your face with one hand
  • Pull the straps down over the back of your head
  • You can wear glasses with frames up to 142 mm wide with the Rift headset. Don’t use glasses that touch the headset lenses.


  • Tighten the side tabs slightly
  • Keep tightening until you feel the springs in the strap arms give slightly when you’re putting on the headset
  • Make sure the side tabs are tightened evenly, so the headset is centred on your face and sits directly in front of your eyes
  • The main strap should ride low, with the tracking triangle over the bony bump on the back of your head
  • Tighten the top strap until you feel the weight balanced around your head
  • If you find that you’re tempted to hold the headset like binoculars, adjust the straps a little tighter
  • After you’ve adjusted your Rift to fit you, you won’t usually have to make any adjustments when you wear it next time.


  • Rotate the headphones into position and push them onto your ears
  • Find the lens slider on the underside of the headset. It controls lens spacing inside the headset. Push and hold it into the headset, then slide it to get the sharpest possible image

You are ready to use the Oculus Rift for gaming (and other adventures)!

Get ready:

  • Stand in the spot where you’d like to use Rift and face the Oculus sensor
  • Slide your wrist through the Oculus remote’s lanyard
  • Put on the Rift headset
  • Move the headset very slightly up and down on your face until the image is sharpest
  • Then push in the lens slider on the bottom of the headset and slowly slide it from side to side until the image is sharpest
  • The Oculus sensor will adjust to your position
  • Press the select button on the Oculus remote

You’ll now see a few short experiences from Oculus Rift.

Rift Software Setup

To use your Rift, you’ll need to install the Oculus app and calibrate the Rift.

Installing the Oculus App

  • Download the Oculus app, and install it on your computer.
  • Download Oculus Setup.
  • Launch the OculusSetup.exe file after it finishes downloading.
  • Click Install Now.
  • After installation finishes, click Next.

Creating your Oculus Account

You’ll need an Oculus account to use Rift. Either create one or sign in. Your username and your profile photo will be public. There are privacy settings to control what people can see about you.

You can add payment details and a four-digit pin either straight away, or when you are ready to purchase your first virtual reality game or app

Using Oculus Home

The Oculus Store and your Oculus Library are the key destinations in Oculus Home. You can navigate to recent games and apps or the Oculus Store. Oculus Library contains the games and apps you already have. In Social, you can see your friends and friend requests.

Oculus Store

Oculus Store - How To Use The Oculus Rift VR Headset For Gaming

You can now buy games and apps at the Oculus Store!

Okay, so this may be the most exciting part of our “How to use the Oculus Rift VR headset for gaming” guide.

Obviously, we’ve taken our setup guide from the Oculus Rift official guides which are pretty comprehensive. They have an excellent troubleshooting section and some important safety information, so their website is well worth a visit.

You’re all set up and ready to enjoy your virtual reality gaming experience, or whatever other apps you choose! There are plenty out there, and new ones are being released daily.

Why not comment and let us know your favourite?

We hope this helped you and perhaps take a look at what you should be excited about now that you have a VR headset working.

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