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Plutosphere wanted to bring VR cloud streaming to Quest, now it's shutting down

Plutosphere wanted to bring VR cloud streaming to Quest, now it's shutting down
logoUPDATE

Statements by CEO Jared Cheshier added

Plutosphere wanted to make cloud-based VR gaming big with Meta Quest, but now has to shut down for financial reasons.

FACTS

The CEO of Plutosphere, Jared Cheshier, announced the end of the service on Medium.

"After a period of long and intense negotiation and unforeseen challenges with a partner, it is with profound regret that we announce the cessation of PlutoSphere operations," Cheshier writes. "Due to our inability to launch on the Meta app store and grow our user base, we’ve been unable to honor our commitments with our third-party reseller of AWS cloud services."

Plutosphere launched in beta in 2022. The service would render PC VR games in the cloud and stream them to Meta Quest over home Wi-Fi, eliminating the need for a local PC. The service is billed on an hourly basis, but tokens are no longer sold with the end of Plutosphere.

CONTEXT

Meta does not allow VR cloud streaming on its stores

To use Plutosphere, users have to install a Plutosphere app on Meta Quest via sideloading. Since this process is quite complicated for the average person, Plutosphere has probably reached very few people. Plutosphere launched on the App Lab in October 2023, which at least eliminated the need for sideloading. However, it may have been too late by then.

Meta's app guidelines do not allow apps that use VR cloud streaming:

"Applications that stream stereoscopic, head-tracked, or immersive content may only do so from a local source, that is, a device that the customer has physical access to. Streaming from virtual devices or cloud sources is not allowed unless expressly approved by Meta in writing."

The question is: did Plutosphere get this permission, especially since the app appeared in the App Lab? I've reached out to Plutosphere's CEO Jared Cheshier to get answers, and I've added his statements below.

Meta is making its own efforts in VR cloud streaming, as leaks show. The company may have put obstacles in Plutosphere's way for this reason, and it wouldn't be the first time they've engaged in anti-competitive behavior. Virtual Desktop's PC VR streaming feature was banned from the Quest Store for 20 months. Shortly after it was allowed back into the Quest Store, Meta released its own solution, Air Link.

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STATEMENTS BY THE CEO JARED CHESHIER

Why did the Plutosphere app launch so late in the App Lab?

JC: It took us so long because we haven’t received approval from Meta for our use case. The app lab version had to be created for local use only. This is the only way they’d approve the release after the review of the submission.

Has Plutosphere received written permission from Meta to use VR Cloud Streaming?

JC: We did not receive written permission from Meta to allow us to stream XR use cases from the cloud or edge, or any non local use case as per their terms. We have asked and pleaded with them with zero traction. We have implemented their guidelines and have proven with significant amounts of customers in regions all over the globe that the technology works under the right conditions. We believe the only way to make it a great experience is to work with customers to do so.

How many users had Plutosphere?

JC: We've got over 40k people out there who have used it. And for the folks that it works well for, they're big believers.

Sources: Medium