Pluto, a Seattle based VR startup which reeled in a $14 million Series A investment last year, today launched their unique Pluto application in Early Access via Steam. Instead of functioning as a standalone VR chatroom like many social VR apps, Pluto brings the fabric of social VR to any SteamVR application, allowing friends’ avatars to join you for a chat inside of whatever virtual world your inhabiting.
I had a chance to check out the latest build of Pluto, and used it to join the company’s co-founder, John Vechey, and communications manager, Serah Delaini, for a virtual chat.
After installing Pluto through Steam, I launched it and, using a desktop interface, was able to quickly make a new account, configure a handful of avatar options, and then add Vechey and Delaini to my contact list via their usernames. Once we were connected, a call dialogue popped up on my screen; I clicked the Answer button and then put on my headset. Though I found myself standing in SteamVR’s usual ‘void’ space, suddenly the avatars of Vechey and Delaini, represented by their floating head and hands, appeared in front of me. We greeted each other and began talking, similar to a number of other social VR applications out there.
The beauty of Pluto though, is that Vechey and Delaini’s avatars stayed with me no matter which application I was in, instead of requiring that I stay in the same virtual space as them. I was able to paint in Tilt Brush and vault across obstacle courses in Climbey, all while continuing to see and talk to the pair.
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