- ~3,100 Mbps download, ~4,000 Mbps upload
Shadow doesn’t have as many initial steps. All you need is to install the Shadow app via SideQuest, then you can launch Shadow from within VR and do everything from there.
On Pluto, there are more initial steps, which are detailed in my how-to video. After these steps, you need to access their dashboard first (on any device with an internet connection). That’s where you can start the service, which can take between 10 to 15 minutes. Lastly, you also need to start SteamVR on your Virtual PC, before you can put on your Quest.
During my tests, I kept both services on default settings, and both were tested in 72hz on Quest 2. I’ve tried playing Beat Saber, Blade & Sorcery, Fracked, and Half-Life Alyx. If you want to see a side-by-side gameplay comparison, you can watch my video.
The streaming quality is good enough on both services to be fully playable. However, there is a difference in visual quality, Pluto is noticeably much sharper, while Shadow has more streaming artifacts.
Unfortunately, Pluto’s software is more buggy and it causes compatibility issues with certain games as you can see from this list. For example, I wasn’t able to play Half-Life: Alyx on Pluto, yet it did work on Shadow.
Input lag is comparable on both services. I wouldn’t recommend using streaming services for very competitive games where every movement counts, but slower-paced games do seem to work well.
In the end, I think that Shadow has the best overall performance with software that’s easy to use without many hiccups, and the games I tried work out of the box. However, PlutoSphere has better stream quality overall, mainly when a game is supported.
Which service is best for you will depend on how many hours you want to use your virtual PC and whether a game is supported. However, overall, I think Shadow is the way to go for now. Keep in mind that PlutoSphere is in early access, so hopefully, they will solve the bugs when it releases.
As you can tell by now, VR streaming can be tricky, but I think it’s incredible that it’s already possible, and having more options for people to get into higher-end VR games is never a bad thing, right?
Disclosure: Both platforms provided me with free access to their service
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