Meta Quest 2: Is cloud streaming coming? New hint
The cloud could enable high graphics quality with standalone VR headsets. There are indications that Meta is testing cloud gaming for virtual reality.
A UK Quest user has reportedly gained access to internally tested cloud streaming called Avalanche. The user was reportedly able to play the PC VR game Asgard's Wrath over Wi-Fi 5 from the cloud. However, the experience was reportedly not perfect.
VR-Analyst Brady Lynch believes that the servers are located in the US and the gaming experience suffered as a result. Lynch was also apparently leaked a screenshot of the Oculus menu, where cloud streaming appears among the experimental features of the VR headsets. According to the image, Avalanche still has alpha status.
Meta bans cloud streaming apps
This isn't the first time you've heard of Avalanche. In April, Quest data miner Samulia discovered evidence of internal cloud streaming tests codenamed "Oculus Avalanche." The strings were found in Quest firmware 24.0, which was released in November 2020. According to this, Meta has been testing cloud gaming for quite some time.
Someone contacted me (and posted on Reddit) claiming they had access to the Avalanche Cloud PC VR streaming functionality Meta is internally testing.
- Brad Lynch (@SadlyItsBradley) May 27, 2022
A few months later, in March 2021, Meta banned VR apps that use cloud streaming from the Oculus Store and App Lab. The developer guidelines state that apps that stream interactive, immersive VR content may only do so from a local PC to which the customer has physical access.
Malicious tongues claim that Meta has its own streaming solution in development and wants to get ahead of potential competitors like Plutosphere. The startup responsible launched cloud streaming for Quest headsets based on Nvidia CloudXR and AWS earlier this year. Customers have to download the Plutosphere app via Sidequest, as it is not permitted in the Oculus Store or the App Lab.
VR games from the Meta Cloud: Not before 2025?
That Meta is testing cloud streaming is no surprise. The technology has huge potential as it could alleviate the biggest weakness of standalone VR and AR headsets, limited processing power and waste heat.
Thus, the question is not if, but rather when cloud streaming will come. The biggest technical obstacle is not so much data throughput as latency, which needs to be even lower for virtual reality than for traditional 2D games to ensure a good gaming experience. If too much time passes between an action and its graphic implementation on the VR display, this can lead to motion sickness.
According to Meta manager Jason Rubin, the cloud can solve many problems in the long term because it puts computing power where it's needed. He hinted circa two years ago that cloud streaming won't be operational until 2025.