Nvidia offers up CloudXR as glimpse of the future of VR

Written by Jennifer Allen

May 20, 2020 | 15:00

Tags: #cloudxr #geforce-now #vr

Companies: #nvidia

Nvidia has unveiled its CloudXR platform which could end up like a form of GeForce Now for VR, AR and MR. 

The platform allows users of lower-end devices and head-mounted displays to play much more advanced XR experiences via Nvidia's edge servers, all over 5G, Wi-Fi and other networks. Sounds familiar, right? With the launch, Nvidia has also unveiled its CloudXR software development kit in a bid to make the concept far more attractive and popular to relevant developers. CloudXR being an all-in encompassing term for all the forms of virtual reality, such as VR, augmented reality and mixed reality. 

The CloudXR SDK is described as Nvidia's "core platform for streaming virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality content from any OpenVR XR application on a remote server – cloud, datacentre, or edge."

It should mean the ability to play "untethered" i.e. without the need for powerful hardware to run it which is often an issue for the freeing yet oddly restrictive nature of VR hardware. Nvidia has recommended HMDs such as the Vive Pro as the perfect example of a relatively low-powered client that could work well with CloudXR. It'll also work with any other connected device including mobiles and tablets with Nvidia citing that companies can "expand mobile access to graphics-intensive applications and content, enabling immersive, responsive XR experiences that can be enjoyed on a remote client."

For now, it's early days but Nvidia has got some early access partners signed up. These include ZeroLight, VMware, The GRID Factory, Theia Interactive, Luxion KeyVR, ESI Group, PresenZ and PiXYZ. 

Nvidia is also focusing on acquiring key partners in the world of mobile too, teaming up with Ericsson and Qualcomm in a bid to prepare CloudXR for 5G purposes.

If you're slowly getting more excited about the gaming potential here, don't. Right now, CloudXR is mostly aimed at enterprise customers with the thinking being that they can stream content from their own RTX servers to headsets, rather than this being a consumer endeavour. It's a fascinating example of what technology can do but probably not something that many of us will experience. At least, not just yet. The glimmer of hope? Nvidia points out that it did create the SDK for "consumers platforms" too so you never know. Maybe one day. 


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