Meta still testing ‘Avalanche’ VR Cloud Streaming for Quest

Meta’s long-developed VR cloud streaming system ‘Avalanche’ was featured in French outlet Quest 3.

The “Enable Avalanche (Alpha)” option appeared in the Experimental section of the settings of one of GAMERGEN’s Quest 3 headsets, as demonstrated during a recent live stream.

Clip from GAMERGEN’s live streaming.

The setting description translates to “Start an Avalanche session using the cloud gaming endpoint.” When he activated it, GAMERGEN was offered to play Lone Echo, a successful Oculus Rift game from 2017 that has not been ported to the Quest.

However, actually trying to start it resulted in an error that translates to “Cannot start Avalanche session”, with a description of “An error occurred while starting the Avalanche session, please check your network and try again “.

Project Avalanche

Avalanche’s existence was first discovered in April 2022, when Quest Samulia’s firmware mining data found an AVALANCHE_CLOUD_GAMING_INFRA_ENABLED flag, added in v24. Version 24 shipped in late 2020, suggesting that Avalanche has been in development for at least four years now.

A month later, two years ago now, a redditor posted a screenshot showing an “Enable Avalanche (Alpha)” option in their Quest 2 experimental settings, very similar to the option that was shown to GAMERGEN, written as follows:

I pressed it, it said “finding server” for 20 seconds or so, then it loaded [PC] oculus home. For about 15 seconds, it was indeed the right framerate, but with a slight lag, then a spinning ring appeared and stayed that way.

Has anyone else gotten this to work?

YouTuber Brad Lynch claimed in X that redditor contacted him directly about their experience, saying “they were able to get into a completely remote game of Asgards Wrath over a Wifi5 session in the UK.” The original Asgard’s Wrath was another flagship Rift game, shipped in 2019, which also hasn’t been ported to Quest – though it certainly got a sequel on an even bigger scale.

Between 2016 and 2021 Facebook invested hundreds of millions of dollars to ship a number of Oculus Rift PC hits like Lone Echo and Asgard’s Wrath. While these games can be played on the Quest today via a gaming PC over Wi-Fi or USB, most Quest users don’t have a gaming PC, so Avalanche can bring them to a much wider audience.

Of course, the cloud streaming experience is highly dependent on the quality of the user’s internet connection. There is a potential for high latency if the server is far away, and for jitter caused by packet loss if the connection quality is poor. In late 2020, John Carmack said this, comparing it to the local network broadcast: “Obviously it’s worse, obviously more people will find it unacceptable and it will be a terrible experience for more people, but I’m still very confident that for some people in some situations it will still be quite valuable.”

In 2020, Facebook Gaming VP Jason Rubin described cloud VR gaming as more than five years out. But some Quest owners have been doing this for years using third-party tools and services.

PlutoSphere shuts down as Meta maintains Cloud VR streaming ban

PlutoSphere is shutting down, as Meta maintains a ban on cloud VR streaming on the Quest Store and App Lab.

Virtual Desktop supports streaming from a PC outside your local network, which some Quest owners have paired with Shadow’s cloud computing service to play SteamVR games without a PC. PlutoSphere even offered a managed service with prices paid through tokens, though it shut down in March citing Meta’s ban on streaming VR to the cloud in its Quest Store and App Lab policies.

So if Meta moves its VR streaming feature to the cloud soon, it could face accusations of anti-competitive practices. It would be a similar situation to Virtual Desktop’s PC VR Wi-Fi streaming, which Meta banned from the platform until shortly before it launched its Air Link feature. In 2022, Bloomberg reported that the US FTC was investigating Meta’s competitive practices, but there has been no further report on the status of that investigation.

#Meta #testing #Avalanche #Cloud #Streaming #Quest
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