Free Pluto VR Chat App for Avid gamers Enters Early Entry on Steam
A Seattle start-up has just launched Pluto, a virtual reality app currently available in Early Access that allows players to talk to one another using headsets while connected to the Steam service. Much like the Discord app, which allows players to chat and send messages with each other whether they are playing together or not, Pluto runs alongside existing SteamVR games.
The app control panel lets you design your own avatar, choose the opacity of other avatars, and mute microphones. The app’s overlay icon allows you to adjust the settings while they fly while you are still in your game. Friends can even call and see what you’re up to while you play. While it doesn’t currently allow real-time sharing, you can take a screenshot and share it.
Forest Gibson, co-founder of Pluto VR, told GeekWire that online social interactions are meant to be more like real life. “Ultimately, we are focused on creating the future of personal interaction in artificial spaces,” he said. “We want all types of multi-user VR experiences to be more interactive, more collaborative and ultimately less lonely.”
Currently, the app only shows avatars made up of floating heads and hands being tracked by the headsets and controllers. With the improvement in tracking technology, Pluto VR is hoping to add things like eyebrow movement.
However, the term “social network” is a misnomer. The app is not intended to help you find new people to play with. There are no meeting rooms or public chat rooms. The goal is to connect virtually with people you already know.
Pluto’s founders have an impressive résumé with experience in places like Disney, PopCap Games, Valve, and Microsoft. The company raised $ 13.9 million in its most recent funding round. There are other communication apps for VR, but Pluto wants to achieve a familiar presence across a variety of platforms.
Some publications have referred to Pluto as “Skype of VR”, but former PopCap founder John Veschy doesn’t like the comparison. “We’re not big fans of the ‘this for that’,” he said. “How can you easily compare a brand new form of communication? What kind of telegram was that? “
Pluto is now available for free in Early Access on Steam, with all of the normal limitations that come with a pre-release version. It works with Rift, Vive, and Windows VR along with existing SteamVR games.