The Importance of Mobile VR
Let me start by saying that at first, I’m not really sold by idea of having a VR experience accessed through the small screen of a smartphone. I did try Google Cardboard, it was good, better than I expected but left much to be desired, especially considering that I felt pretty nauseous after trying one of the demo game.
However, after more experience in tinkering with VR content and many events happening in the real world, I realize that mobile VR is very vital for the future of this technology. It has a significant role in spreading the experience to common everyday people.
For starter, the price point for this is very low. Google Cardboard can be purchased for about $25. A much better HMD like Zeiss VR One costs around $99. That’s way cheaper than Oculus Rift that costs around $399. Sure, you’ll need smartphone, but chances are, you’ve already owned one. While, for a proper experience, Oculus Rift requires a high-end gaming PC that costs around $1500. Arguing about price doesn’t really makes sense here.
How about the contents then? Well, I assume that many will be developed using Google Cardboard SDK, which is actively promoted and developed by Google. It’s a good tool to make VR content, and therefore, in terms of making games, I think mobile VR is in a good company. In fact, quick search of Cardboard in Play Store yields so many results, from movie, to tech demos to games.
And if installing apps proved to be much hassles, well, Google has another trick up its sleeve: YouTube. Recent update in YouTube, allows viewer to view an immersive, full 360 degree spherical video. Of course, the video needs to be shot using special cameras and uploaded using additional scripts, but this has enables many people to access VR content in an easier manner. Plus, it’s a good introduction to what VR is all about and how it’s a game changer from a storytelling point of view. Plus, consuming an already finished content like a movie, will be easier in the eyes and devices, compared to having something like game, that involves live-rendering of polygons.
Talking about internet based content, let’s not forget about WebVR, a project that aims at bringing VR experience to the web. I recently finished a project using this and I must say that the result is pretty good. It runs well on many mobile devices that I found. I spread it through Facebook, and many of my friends said that it works in their devices. Which means it’s very easy to distribute VR works this way.
Additionally, Digitimes reports that most of the VR HMD sold, will be for mobile. Complement this with Fast Company’s reaction on Oculus Rift’s required PC spec. We can see a pattern here. Mobile VR will have a serious impact on spreading the words.