Oculus is forcing Virtual Desktop dev to remove VR Streaming function in Quest

Krejlooc

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Oct 27, 2017
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Virtual Desktop is a long running PC streaming solution for VR headsets that stretches all the way back to the birth of Oculus. It's one of the oldest VR apps around in the modern age of VR, and has been one of the most consistently popular. The last version of Virtual Desktop, released for the Quest, included a "VR Streaming" mode:


VR Streaming mode lets you stream PC VR games from your PC to the Oculus Quest, so that the Quest can play PC VR games from Steam VR or the Desktop Rift client. There are other solutions to do this as well, but Virtual Desktop is probably the biggest, most popular entity to have such a feature these days. Today, apparently, Oculus dropped the hammer:


This is but the latest in a string of very draconian standards Oculus has been forcing upon developers since the release of CV1, way back when they tried to block ReVive. This type of practice honestly sucks.
 

Nostremitus

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Nov 15, 2017
3,150
I'm still waiting for Windows Mixed reality headsets to add two additional cameras for better controller tracking and become the best, most cost effective option for PC VR...
 

SpookyFries

Member
Dec 7, 2017
183
Austin, TX
Damn. That is unfortunate. I was really close to buying it for that feature. Makes me wonder if Oculus is going to roll out their own streaming function eventually.

I guess I'll stick with sideloading for now :(
 

EDarkness

Member
Oct 25, 2017
503
I don't necessarily agree with their decision, but I can understand where they're coming from. If all someone had to do was buy a Quest and the Virtual Desktop app to play any PC VR game on their Quest remotely, then they wouldn't need to bother buying Rifts. It would help kill the Rift market and they have a number of PC VR only games coming which could be seriously affected by this.

I don't understand their point, though, because they are pushing the Quest like crazy and trying to stamp out the Rift market by themselves, so what difference would it make really to have this functionality there? The other thought I had is that they're working on their own solution and don't want this to get in the way of that.

Keep in mind that there are other solutions for streaming VR games to the Quest, but you can't buy them on the store. They're effectively hacks/homebrew apps. Virtual Desktop ins an actual paid app on the store.
 

cakely

Member
Oct 27, 2017
6,356
Chicago
Facebook keeps on facebooking.

Seriously, though: using wi-fi to stream video to a VR headset sounds like a recipe for disaster. I know you can do it, but ... really, should you?
 

Eternalgamer

Banned
Nov 4, 2017
220
I don't necessarily agree with their decision, but I can understand where they're coming from. If all someone had to do was buy a Quest and the Virtual Desktop app to play any PC VR game on their Quest remotely, then they wouldn't need to bother buying Rifts. It would help kill the Rift market and they have a number of PC VR only games coming which could be seriously affected by this.

I don't understand their point, though, because they are pushing the Quest like crazy and trying to stamp out the Rift market by themselves, so what difference would it make really to have this functionality there? The other thought I had is that they're working on their own solution and don't want this to get in the way of that.

Keep in mind that there are other solutions for streaming VR games to the Quest, but you can't buy them on the store. They're effectively hacks/homebrew apps. Virtual Desktop ins an actual paid app on the store.
I see both sides of this.

I think Oculus really just wants to keep a tight storefront, at least for the time being. They clearly hand picked the games they allowed for the launch window and they are probably concerned that the experience could be less than optimal, making some people sick or giving them a bad impression of their product.

They haven't done anything about the "grey market" solutions that are side loaded. They clearly just want to keep a tight ship on the stuff that's in the official store.
 
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Krejlooc

Krejlooc

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Oct 27, 2017
15,589
I don't necessarily agree with their decision, but I can understand where they're coming from. If all someone had to do was buy a Quest and the Virtual Desktop app to play any PC VR game on their Quest remotely, then they wouldn't need to bother buying Rifts. It would help kill the Rift market and they have a number of PC VR only games coming which could be seriously affected by this.
...no, the "rift market" is the software being sold. Since the beginning, Oculus has subsidized the price of the rift hardware itself, like old console manufacturers. They lost money on Rifts sold for years, with the expectation to make it up in software sales. This type of software increases the market, increases the number of people who can buy software on their market, increases the amount of software sold.
 

KojiKnight

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Oct 25, 2017
8,158
I mean... we all knew this kind of stuff would be happening the moment Oculus made their own store and made it clear they wouldn't be supporting steam or any other VR store. Sideloading is still frowned upon as well.
 

Eternalgamer

Banned
Nov 4, 2017
220
I mean... we all knew this kind of stuff would be happening the moment Oculus made their own store and made it clear they wouldn't be supporting steam or any other VR store. Sideloading is still frowned upon as well.
I would say side loading is a "grey area," not one exactly frowned on. Carmack himself was talking about the ability to do it in formal interviews.

Incidentally he also mentioned that streaming from a PC could "get much better," which hints Oculus might have their own official solution in the works.
 

Arulan

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Oct 25, 2017
1,214
Closed-platforms are the worst, and it's why I can't support Oculus' vision for VR.
 

Drain You

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Oct 27, 2017
3,115
Connecticut
I've been toying with the idea of buying an Oculus Quest for the past couple of weeks after having had some in depth time with PSVR. Don't have a PC good enough so this doesn't really affect me (hence why I wanted a Quest in the first place) but this sort of thing makes me not want to bother with it.
 

Ionic

Member
Oct 31, 2017
972
The consolication of VR continues. Desktop streaming is a potential outflow of software income to Facebook so they're going to actively close it. You're supposed to buy games on the Quest that run only on Facebook's hardware so that you get ingrained in their hardware and software ecosystem. Buying vendor agnostic software is the antithesis of that.
 

drag00n18

Member
Dec 7, 2018
31
I purchased PlayStation VR to go with my Pro a month ago and have enjoyed it immensely. With that said I was genuinely interested in eventually purchasing an Oculus Quest. Non-tethered VR is clearly the future. What is holding long me back is predominately distrust of Facebook and another closed system to buy into. There is side loading of games/apps however when are they going to stamp out/restrict this capability? Streaming from my mid tier PC was a brief thought until this news :-(
 

piratepwnsninja

Lead Game Designer
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Oct 25, 2017
1,465
Not a good look. I mean, I get why they wouldn't want that on an app on the official store, but still.

This isn't the only way to stream PC VR to the quest. It was the only way to stream PC VR that was available through the Oculus store.
All this means is everyone goes back to side loading apps for streaming.
I've run Revive through ALVR just fine.
 

Spark

Member
Dec 6, 2017
169
One of the reasons why I didn't purchase a Quest. Wireless VR is great, but not worth being locked into Facebook's draconian walled garden. Such a shame.
 

MrKlaw

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Oct 25, 2017
6,926
This is more to do with accessing a competitor on steamVR

I’m wary what they might try with sideloading - with some of the games being rejected people are suggesting a parallel storefront using sideloading. That will not go down well with oculus

I’d rather they don’t try and block sideloading but that only works as long as it’s a niche thing
 

MrKlaw

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Oct 25, 2017
6,926
The consolication of VR continues. Desktop streaming is a potential outflow of software income to Facebook so they're going to actively close it. You're supposed to buy games on the Quest that run only on Facebook's hardware so that you get ingrained in their hardware and software ecosystem. Buying vendor agnostic software is the antithesis of that.
Well they seemed ok with it streaming flat steam games. That’s also a potential loss of income.

I was considering buying the app but now won’t. I know there are other apps like ALVR but the convenience of it being a standard app was attractive
 

1-D_FE

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Oct 27, 2017
2,616
Damn. That is unfortunate. I was really close to buying it for that feature. Makes me wonder if Oculus is going to roll out their own streaming function eventually.

I guess I'll stick with sideloading for now :(
Carmack has talked about how they've tested this internally, but to me, this is further proof that Facebook will never allow him to actually release that.

Months ago AMD announced they had this type of solution too. It was going to be for AMD cards and was focused on allowing PCVR to be played on mobile headsets and focused on quality and latency reduction. When it was initially announced, they made a big thing about targeting Go and Quest. A couple days later, they had to issue a clarification saying they wouldn't be allowed to support Oculus HMDs.

If Facebook has absolutely any say in the matter, they seem intent on shutting these things down. They do not want people going outside the Quest store for content. There's nothing they can do about sideloading (on a practical level), but that's as far as they seem willing to let this go.
 

Tayaya

Banned
Oct 31, 2017
239
I still love my Quest and I'm glad I bought it. Virtual Desktop didn't really have any appeal to me so this change doesn't really have any effect on me. However, it's definitely a dick move that makes me respect Oculus a little less.

I get it - it makes the Quest potentially cut into Rift S sales, and circumvents the curated nature of their own store. But on the flipside it opens the Quest up to being a truly wireless VR headset as long as users don't mind a little video compression and lag - it would give them incentive to upsell the Rift S as a way to get rid of the lag and improve the video quality.

At least they haven't killed sideloading yet, so VRidge and ALVR are still viable options if you want to go that route!
 
Oct 26, 2017
2,195
Most probably they will end up releasing their own version, but integrated with the Oculus software and store for PC, so it will only work for the games and apps in their own store.
 

MrKlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,926
I still love my Quest and I'm glad I bought it. Virtual Desktop didn't really have any appeal to me so this change doesn't really have any effect on me. However, it's definitely a dick move that makes me respect Oculus a little less.

I get it - it makes the Quest potentially cut into Rift S sales, and circumvents the curated nature of their own store. But on the flipside it opens the Quest up to being a truly wireless VR headset as long as users don't mind a little video compression and lag - it would give them incentive to upsell the Rift S as a way to get rid of the lag and improve the video quality.

At least they haven't killed sideloading yet, so VRidge and ALVR are still viable options if you want to go that route!

The issue is - if you compare both Rift S and Quest (both selling for the same price) - the cost of the quest will be a lot higher. Dual screens, IPD adjustment, OLED, onboard processing.

Oculus are likely selling at a loss or barely breaking even, in order to have a palatable price. They'll aim to make that money back from their cut of store sales. Anything that reduces the likelihood of people paying for quest content is something they'll want to prevent.

They don't want you using it as a Rift replacement as that means you can play steam games which they don't make any money off
 

Tayaya

Banned
Oct 31, 2017
239
The issue is - if you compare both Rift S and Quest (both selling for the same price) - the cost of the quest will be a lot higher. Dual screens, IPD adjustment, OLED, onboard processing.

Oculus are likely selling at a loss or barely breaking even, in order to have a palatable price. They'll aim to make that money back from their cut of store sales. Anything that reduces the likelihood of people paying for quest content is something they'll want to prevent.

They don't want you using it as a Rift replacement as that means you can play steam games which they don't make any money off
Given the overall quality of the Quest I absolutely believe they are subsidizing it in some way. It feels too good for a $400 product just 2 years and some change after PSVR was a $600 product. And if they do subsidize the cost of the hardware, you really can't blame them for wanting to make the money back via their own store!
 

Pryme

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Aug 23, 2018
1,476
Oculus have always marketed the Quest as a curated console. And it seems VERY likely that it's being sold at a barely break even price, based on the specs of the device. They clearly expect to make their money back via software sales.

This will sound controversial, but I can understand why they're doing this.

Sideloading still works and it will be trivial for advanced users to get their streaming fix working without much trouble. They probably just don't want it so obvious for regular users who may get content elsewhere.

That said, I'm not convinced that any gains they make is worth this negative PR and backlash. Especially in a world deeply skeptical about Zuckerberg's motives.
 
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ShadowKingpin

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,412
I love my Quest and consider it one of the best purchases I have made in years (Alongside the VR Cover for it), but this is such a stupid move. I didn’t use Virtual Desktop in that way, but I know many that have and was the whole reasoning behind their purchase. Facebook gonna Facebook.
 

vermadas

Member
Oct 25, 2017
238
This is some bullshit, I feel bad for Godin. Pretty awesome he's going to offer the VR streaming capable APK to be sideloaded, though I hope people still buy VD from the store or compensate him in some way for it.

What I find ironic about all of these streaming solutions is that they all work through SteamVR. By closing off their interface, Oculus has effectively driven the PCVR -> Quest streamers to a competing platform. Given how quickly these streaming apps were ready, I have a hard time believing Oculus couldn't come up with their own first class solution. But of course this would potentially eat into their Rift hardware market and they'd get fewer sales on their overpriced sidegrade headset.
 

Baconmonk

Avenger
Oct 26, 2017
3,307
Oculus have always marketed the Quest as a curated console. And it seems VERY likely that it's being sold at a barely break even price, based on the specs of the device. They clearly expect to make their money back via software sales.

This will sound controversial, but I can understand why they're doing this.

Sideloading still works and it will be trivial for advanced users to get their streaming fix working without much trouble. They probably just don't want it so obvious for regular users who may get content elsewhere.

That said, I'm not convinced that any gains they make is worth this negative PR and backlash. Especially in a world deeply skeptical about Zuckerberg's motives.
I think you make a great point, and to a degree this makes sense from the perspective of running Oculus games you already own VS buying the Quest version.

I think its more important right now for them to be focusing on keeping developers engaged and creating great experiences for it. You can't buy every single dev who makes content for your device, you should be allowing them to innovate and experiment. Why Oculus isn't working on their own version of local streaming is baffling to me. Why not just hire the guy if the solution is working and integrate it into an "only Oculus games can stream" type solution? I guess you'd still have the issue with Quest ports and versions getting the snuff since you've directed dev costs toward that, but if the developer is still selling a full price game on Rift or Quest, I would think that is a win in this very early world of VR.

Overall extremely disappointing. I expected better from the company positioning itself as the leader in consumer VR.
 

Exis

Member
Oct 25, 2017
264
I can say that the streaming on Virtual Desktop actually worked better than the other options. Shame that Oculus is doing exactly what everyone figured they would in their walled garden.
 

Synth

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Oct 26, 2017
1,635
...no, the "rift market" is the software being sold. Since the beginning, Oculus has subsidized the price of the rift hardware itself, like old console manufacturers. They lost money on Rifts sold for years, with the expectation to make it up in software sales. This type of software increases the market, increases the number of people who can buy software on their market, increases the amount of software sold.
This is sound logic in general, but the issue in this particular case is that the streaming options run via SteamVR. It ironically created a situation where a user with a Rift and a Quest is incentivized to purchase titles from Steam rather than Oculus' own store, because you now have an Oculus device that hilariously ends up depending on Revive to get at Oculus Store content.

With all the various side-loading options however, I think it's not unlikely Oculus themselves end up creating an official solution to try and catch users that will pursue this regardless and point them towards their own PC store for it.

I've been toying with the idea of buying an Oculus Quest for the past couple of weeks after having had some in depth time with PSVR. Don't have a PC good enough so this doesn't really affect me (hence why I wanted a Quest in the first place) but this sort of thing makes me not want to bother with it.
To be fair, you can still do this if you sideload an app such as ALVR or VRidge onto the headset. For all intents and purposes the Quest is really analogous to a console rather than a PC (just as Xbox doesn't share the same freedoms Windows does). It's substantially less limiting as an ecosystem than PSVR is, where something like Bigscreen (or Virtual Desktop itself) would probably struggle to get approved, and there would be no alternative means of distributing it.