Meta tests 5G cloud streaming with Verizon for VR and AR
Meta is testing high-quality cloud streaming for VR and AR, partnering with US network operator Verizon.
Large, detailed and complex VR worlds simply do not run on standalone VR headsets like the Meta Quest 2. The mobile processor and the heat development put tight limits on the graphical performance of the headset.
Cloud streaming could finally offer a solution here and conjure up an elaborate virtual reality known from the PC or the Playstation VR 2 in a standalone VR headset.
Recently, there have been new hints of early cloud streaming tests by the Meta company. A UK Quest user presumably gained random access to the internally tested streaming service, which goes by the name Avalanche, and was able to briefly play the PC VR game Asgard's Wrath from the cloud.
VR analyst and leaker Brad Lynch then checked with his Meta sources, and they confirmed that Meta is actively working on the Avalanche cloud and occasionally shows off PC VR games like Half-Life: Alyx internally. The company is serious about cloud gaming, the sources said.
Meta and Verizon are exploring the possibilities of 5G
Before cloud streaming launches, Meta first wants to invest in improving its infrastructure, Lynch's Patreon post continues. The company is referring to a partnership with Verizon, the second-largest U.S. network provider. Verizon intends to provide more than 175 million U.S. citizens with 5G by the end of 2022.
The partnership will combine Verizon's 5G network and edge computing with Meta's technologies to address Metaverse network needs. The goal is to figure out how Verizon's infrastructure can deliver "intensive XR cloud rendering and streaming with low latency." Applications being tested range from XR collaboration to "consumer Metaverse experiences."
Avalanche: Not until 2025?
Shadow and Plutosphere are the first cloud streaming services for Quest 2, and the quality of the experience depends on one's network and the distance to server centers. 5G networks could make high-quality cloud streaming accessible to more people, provided there is sufficient coverage.
It makes sense for Meta to first test the technology with a network provider and explore software-side optimizations. The collaboration could lay the groundwork for XR cloud streaming with Quest 2 and other Meta headsets.
Meta's content chief Jason Rubin said two years ago that cloud streaming wasn't expected until 2025. In the meantime, that timeline may have shifted one way or the other. Meta presented in detail the requirements for a Metaverse-enabled Internet in early March.