It’s almost unbelievable how rapidly the virtual reality gaming space has developed so far this year. While two high-end headsets, the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift have recently been released, there are literally millions of Google Cardboard headsets in the hands of gaming enthusiasts as well. Considering that a typical Google Cardboard headset costs under $20, as long as you have an Android smartphone, the VR space has been opened up to millions of people, who otherwise would not have been able to afford a higher-end device and experience virtual reality for the first time. With this said, I have to admit that the selection of games and applications available for Google Cardboard and devices like it are somewhat lacking. That’s until today…
Today RiftCat announced a major update to their VRidge Android application. The update reportedly will allow gamers to play any SteamVR or OpenVR title on their Android devices, instead of having to go out and spend $799 on an HTC Vive. Basically the Steam users can stream the game from their PC to their phone. With that said, the quality of the games will not be anything like that found with the Vive, and some games may have minor glitches.
“Please keep in mind that this tech is still in experimental / unstable stages. Save your games often because crashes can and will happen. Not all games work and compatibility may come and go with game updates,” wrote RiftCat on their blog late yesterday evening.
For instance some games such as Elite: Dangerous may have issues with blurry text while other VR applications such as Virtual Desktop may have extra lag times because of double rendering issues. Considering that there are many cheap and even free games, apps and experiences available on Steam, this update could go a long way in bringing VR into the mainstream; not to mention Steam certainly has to be benefitting from the VRidge app quite a bit.
The complete guide for turning your Android phone into a very capable device compatible with SteamVR and OpenVR games and applications can be found here. So far the VRidge app is only available for Android devices, meaning that all of you iPhone users will remain envious for the time being. RiftCat has not said if or when the app will come to iOS, although I’m sure it’s something they are at least considering. If you don’t already own a Google Cardboard headset, then head on over to Amazon and pick one up for under $10.
Have you downloaded the VRidge app? How did it work? What are the possible implications of this application on the VR space? Let’s hear your thoughts in the VRidge Steam VR forum on VRTalk.com