NVIDIA today announced the launch of version 1.0 of its CloudXR SDK, a suite of tools which allows network operators to offer cloud-rendered AR/VR streaming capabilities.

Nvidia has been steadily readying its CloudXR system in preparation for the proliferation of GPU-equipped edge computing networks and 5G connected devices. The company has created a suite of tools which will allow such networks (or operators atop those networks) to offer cloud-rendered AR/VR content to their customers.

The hope of AR/VR streaming is to remove VR’s high-end hardware barrier by rendering the visuals in the cloud and streaming them to a host device which itself doesn’t need particularly beefy or expensive hardware. Nvidia already offers a very similar service called GeForce Now, but it’s for traditional games rather than VR. CloudXR is a specialized solution for the unique latency and performance requirements of VR and AR streaming.

While Nvidia had announced the early access launch of the CloudXR SDK late last year, today the company says it’s launching the 1.0 version, which is ostensibly ready for initial deployments into real networks.

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Nvidia says the CloudXR system can stream any SteamVR content to end users on Windows or Android systems without any special modification to the streamed application. That could be game and entertainment content or enterprise and productivity content like high-end 3D visualization or immersive design applications; whatever the operator wants to offer to its customers.

Image courtesy NVIDIA

But the CloudXR SDK isn’t just a simple host-client video encoder/decoder; Nvidia says the system is architected to run and be managed across large server deployments, offering a truly scalable solution that can support many simultaneous customers across virtualized hardware.

CloudXR combines the performance of RTX Server with NVIDIA’s GPU virtualization software, the Quadro Virtual Workstation (Quadro vDWS), to securely enable multi-tenant deployments, a common requirement among telecommunications (telco) and service providers. GPU virtualization also allows multiple virtual machines to access a GPU when the workload is lighter, optimizing for user density and operating costs. Manageability is streamlined with support for both VMware and Red Hat virtualization platforms and supporting management tools.

For edge computing operators that want a complete solution, Nvidia is even offering an ‘RTX Server CloudXR 5G MEC DevKit’—literally a server box with all the necessary hardware and software for cloud-rendered AR/VR streaming that can be plugged into an existing data center for testing.

It’ll be some time yet until we could see CloudXR streaming capabilities offered to real end-users, but Nvidia hopes this is an important first step to enabling a future of viable AR/VR cloud streaming.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Andrew Jakobs

    Sounds we’re heading to a real cloud based solution for gaming in all pretty soon. One thing that makes cloud based games better, is anti-cheat, as the only way to cheat might be visual aimbots which aren’t that great (most are done on actual gamedata), also it makes sure that people can’t cheat through upping their pings etc.

    • kontis

      Then publishers have to monetize games much more heavily to recoup all the hardware, electricity and bandwidth cost, which is huge. Look at virtual GPUs in AWS – the prices are insane. Even just running normal multplayer game that east a lot of bandwidth due to more advanced physics can cause ridiculous costs. Streaming makes it 10x worse.

      Not owning the game files, no ability to mod (battle royale and mobas were invented by modders which resulted in billions and billions of revenue with games like LoL, Dota2, Fortnite and Pubg).
      You will never know when you lose access to the game, This is absolutely DYSTOPIAN and anyone who wants it is immoral.

      • Octo

        If the console makers doesn’t have to spend billions on manufacturing and selling hardware at a loss, and can invest all that money in servers, it’s probably an economic win. Modding doesn’t necessarily have to go. Unofficial modding maybe, but afaik the games you listed were made in engines that were open for modification with the blessing of the developers. It’ll just not work in the exact same way.

  • Foreign Devil

    Cloud is the way to go for VR. I’m already a convert to Google Stadia. . .especially after trying to install the free batman lego games from Epic and having each one of them hard reset my PC. Streaming games just work! No installation or download or system tweaks required.

    • kontis

      Yeah and speed of light will just magically get faster. Just change the physics.

      • Octo

        Quantum entanglement.

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  • dk