Nvidia-based Cloud Streaming for Quest (2): PlutoSphere launches
PC VR without a computer: The Nvidia-based streaming service PlutoSphere for Meta Quest (2) offers VR game streaming via the Internet.
Those who do not want to invest in an expensive gaming PC because of inflated hardware prices might find an alternative in PlutoSphere. The VR cloud service with a gaming focus streams PC VR apps over the Internet to a Meta Quest (2). This makes it possible to play popular, graphically complex VR games like Half-Life: Alyx without a powerful computer.
An Internet connection with at least 50 Mbit download speed and a WiFi 6 router with 5 GHz support are required. There do not appear to be any regional restrictions. For over a year now, the start-up Pluto-VR has been experimenting with various cloud streaming providers. The service is built on Nvidia's Cloud XR and uses the streaming offering of Amazon Web Services (AWS).
After initial tests, the service officially launched on February 02 in the SideQuest store and supports both the Quest 2 and the older predecessor model. Other systems should follow: "PlutoSphere supports Quest and Quest 2 during the limited launch phase, but will eventually support other hardware as well," according to the FAQ in the SideQuest store.
PlutoSphere: VR games from the cloud
Steam is already pre-installed. However, you can also use any other PC games or apps if you already own them. Similar to Shadow, you have access to a Windows installation on a server where you can install services and stores such as the Epic Games Store. Exclusive titles from the Rift Store can be launched with LibreVR or Revive.
A Steam account is mandatory for PlutoSphere, according to the FAQ document. Another minimum requirement is a ping to an AWS region of under 100 ms. The ideal performance is under 50 ms; a corresponding test is linked in the Sidequest store.
Also required, of course, is "a device running SideQuest." Only with this platform for experimental apps can users access the downloaded app, which is then transferred to the Quest 2 via sideloading.
A token system is used as the payment model. Currently, participants receive 1,500 tokens every day, 600 are enough for one hour of play. Sometimes users also have to take part in a small survey. Additional Pluto tokens can be purchased. The cost of additional plays varies depending on the bundle selected.
Limited free cloud gaming on the Quest 2
In an interview with UploadVR, co-founder Forest Gibson mentions a PlutoSphere price of one to three dollars per hour. In the interview, he particularly highlights the potential for avatars in VRChat.
With the social app's PC client, he says, there are ultimately better avatars and more worlds available than on the mobile Quest (2). Normally, you feel "like a second-class citizen" in VRChat on Quest 2, says Gibson.
Cloud streaming can present latency issues, depending on location and technology. In virtual reality, which is dependent on high frame rates, bad latencies in cloud streaming should be particularly noticeable. Plutosphere does not support asynchronous spacewarp, which can eliminate judder issues for natively rendered games.
Note: An earlier version of this article suggested that Plutosphere might support Asynchronous Spacewarp. According to the developer, this is not the case. The passage has been changed accordingly.
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- Varjo unveils cloud streaming for high-end VR
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