Meta may be ramping up internal testing for its own first-party cloud gaming service which could let its latest standalone VR headset, Quest 2, play PC VR games without needing your own VR-ready computer.

Mention of the ‘Avalanche’ cloud PC VR streaming function was allegedly uncovered in v24 of the Quest firmware, which released in late 2020. It wasn’t until this April that data miner and Reddit user ‘Samulia’ dug into the firmware to find the following string, as reported by Tech analyst and YouTuber Brad Lynch:

AVALANCHE_CLOUD_GAMING_INFRA_ENABLED (“oculus_systemux:oculus_avalanche_cloud_gaming_infra_enabled”)

Samulia is also known for having extracted the Meta logo before it was officially unveiled in February, and a host of info scraped from successive firmware releases alluding to the company’s next VR headset, Project Cambria.

Lynch, known for the YouTube channel SadlyItsBradley, now alleges to have discussed the cloud PC VR streaming with someone who managed to gain access, and was able to remotely play a game of Asgard’s Wrath (2020), an Oculus PC exclusive, on Quest 2.

The screenshot above shows the in-headset Quest UI sporting a feature ostensibly inaccessible to normal users, with a launch button inside the ‘Experimental Features’ section that says: “Enable Avalanche (Alpha) – Start an Avalanche session”.

Furthermore, Lynch says that according to the user, the quality was “not very good,” although this might be chalked up to the fact that they’re based in United Kingdom and had to connect to a PC in the United States.

Quest 2 tethered to a PC | Image courtesy Meta

We’re unable to verify the authenticity of that information, however Meta may be carving out its own exclusive nook for Quest cloud gaming. In the past, Meta has taken steps to disallow cloud gaming apps from both its official Quest Store and App Lab, Meta’s app outlet featuring less stringent content submission guidelines. You can only download third-party cloud gaming services, like PlutoSphere, through sideloading tools such as SideQuest.

This might suggest Meta is currently looking to make its own PC VR cloud gaming service, much like it’s done in the past with its own flatscreen cloud gaming over the last two years. Notably, the flatscreen cloud gaming project is currently headed by former Oculus exec Jason Rubin, who is acutely aware of the inherent limitations of standalone headsets when it comes to packing in high-quality content. As of July 2021, Rubin also now heads all gaming content at Meta, including AR/VR production and Instant and Cloud Play Platform inside the Facebook app.

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In an quarterly earnings in late 2020, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressed the intersection of Facebook’s cloud gaming and VR initiatives:

“Over the longer term, I think the VR piece will obviously come into [our gaming strategy] as well. Some of the cloud gaming stuff that we’re doing will, of course, be useful for VR as well, and we’re building a big community around that on Oculus. But [our cloud gaming service]… I do think will be a very exciting growth opportunity and ability to offer a lot of innovation over the coming years,” Zuckerberg said.

We’re hoping to learn more about Meta’s VR cloud gaming plans as well as its first upcoming mixed reality headset, Project Cambria, at the company’s annual Connect conference later in the year.

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  • xyzs

    How to become 101 percent dependent on big companies…

    the day you stop paying, service off,
    the day the company feels it’s not making enough profits, service off,
    the day your connection fails, service off,
    the day there is a IP issue, service off,

    if you want good latency, you can’t
    if you want to mod you game, you can’t,
    if you want to feel your own your game license, you can’t

    the day they increase their prices, you have no choice.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Well, looking at services like Netflix, people don’t care, if they can have cheap VR without needing a beefy PC they won’t mind the subscription and the lesser visuals. Personally I’m also looking for a new PC for VR, and anything below 1700 euro is just not interesting for newer headsets for the next couple of years. And ofcourse at this point, knowing Nvidia’s going to launch their 40xx range probably early july, I’ll just keep waiting and muster on with my RTX2060super which clearly us already underpowered for driving the HTC Vive Pro.

      • Do you think the 4000-series will be like the 2000-series
        is to the 1000-series, in that it’s more powerful than the 3000-series,
        but not worth the upgrade, being better to wait for the 5000-series?

        • Andrew Jakobs

          If you already have a 30xx there probably isn’t real need to upgrade, but then again the 3060 is a good upgrade compared to the 2060super, if it was available at the the normal below MSRP. As I own the 2060super, I expect the 4060/4070 to be major upgrade, as even the 3060 already is.

      • Ad

        Netflix isn’t a compute service, it’s a pure content service. This is more like buying a TV that can only use netflix. As for PCVR, the min spec for PCVR is a GTX 980, you can already run VR on every 30 series card and probably every 40 series mobile card.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          Yeah, you can run VR on every 30 series card, but those cards are very expensive. And the 40 series isn’t even available, and the mobile version normally comes about 1 year after the desktop, so also not available for a long time. And seeing how expensive the 30xx series is, the 40xx will probably be the same or more due to shortages, because don’t expect the 40xx series to be widely available for the coming year.
          And how is gamestreaming different from netflix? it’s just interactive videostreaming..

          • Ad

            Netflix is you downloading an app on any system. There is no netflix console or even a netflix stick. This is facebook hardware adding cloud services where they have an even greater amount of closed garden control, total control.

            And you’re being really weird. Any card beyond a 980 can do VR, that’s dozens of GPUs from multiple companies. Only the 2050 couldn’t do VR. As soon as the GPU shortage ends it won’t be a real limitation. It’s kind of silly to say this considering no one is producing dedicated GPUs that can’t run VR anymore.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Sorry, but even my RTX2060super has trouble pushing the HTC Vive Pro without distortions or having to dail the graphix down considerably.

        • UroRocks

          My amazing VR rig (a 6 year old laptop) runs every VR title so far (HL-Alyx, Asgards W) and streams it via WIFI with VirtualDesktop to my quest 2, without any lags or issues. Don’t feel any need to buy any new laptop or god forbid, a PC in the near future.

          My Specs:
          CLEVO P870DM with i7-6700
          32GB RAM
          GTX 980 with 8GB
          Sandisk Extreme Pro M.2 SSD with 1TB.
          + Quest2 + Virtual Desktop

    • sfmike

      So true. Many of us invested in 3DTVs and as soon as the companies didn’t feel they were making enough profit it was service off and if you look at their sites the offending unprofitable tech has been erased as it never existed. So much for customer support and satisfaction. VR can go the same way. Look at Microsoft and VR, not a pretty picture.

    • Tyler W

      the day you post something the party doesnt agree with on facebook service off

    • jimmy

      People would sleep with the devil if it make their life remarkably better, your bullshit woke morals don’t matter, you want to be morally superior, average people want to have practical life improvements.

  • This can be huge for the future of XR

  • Ad

    This can’t be true, since facebook banned all cloud services from the store AND app lab because it was unacceptable to them. If this was true, they’d be hostile platform holders who are trying to block open garden cloud services in favor of a closed down system that gives them total control. And that seems unlikely with a reputable company like Facemash. I mean Facebook. I mean Meta.

  • Arno van Wingerde

    Souds like a major gamechanger…. I only play VR games, nothing on PC or console. Although I think the Quest2 is a fabulous piece of hardware, certainly at the price, the number of well developped rich apps is severly limited. I hesitate between buying a decent gaming PC … 2000 $/€ … or waiting for the PSVR2 + PS5 for better games that way. If this actually happens it would keep me in the Meta camp. @ad: If Meta can set up a game cloud of its own and under full control and if there are more people who feel like me, then setting up a service like this is only logical.

  • Till Eulenspiegel

    Meta has no choice but to go the cloud route, Apple’s M2 is out this year and will provide faster than PS4 Pro performance in a standalone headset. Qualcomm’s next gen chip won’t be ready until late 2023 – and there’s no guarantee it can keep up with Apple’s M4 in 2024.