The big day is here. No, not the launch of Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro, we’re talking about the arrival of Google Daydream, the company’s new mobile VR ecosystem. While the first compatible smartphones, the Pixel and Pixel XL, have been available for some time, today marks the release of Daydream View, the company’s own headset.
But what can you actually do on day one? There are a lot of apps coming in the next few weeks, but Google has got a handful of its own experiences and games ready for launch day, which will hopefully satisfy VR gamers and general enthusiasts alike.
After adding 360 degree videos to its enormously popular platform some time ago, Daydream will hopefully prove to be the definitive way to watch YouTube content with a headset. Through this app, any video uploaded in 360 degrees will be watchable with the headset, allowing you to look around as if you were really there.
Again, StreetView has had VR support for some time, but Daydream offers a superior way to use the app over Google Cardboard. With over 70 countries to visit and over 150 tours to go on, this is an early contender to Daydream’s biggest app, and it’s updated to allow for teleportation with the controller.
Google Play has one of the broadest selections of digital movies out there and, with Daydream, you’ll be able to view them all in your very own immersive theater on a giant screen. With this you’ll be able to jump on a plane with your own selection of movies to watch as if you were in a cinema and not crammed into the middle seat.
Using the Cardboard Camera app or by simply importing your own 360 degree media you’ll be able to look at photos within this app. This is where you’ll head for content not made by professional teams but by you and your friends.
Google Arts & Culture
Available outside of Daydream too, Arts & Culture gathers a wide selection of works and 360 footage of exhibitions to let you go on a culture trip without stepping out of your own home.
Wall Street Journal
WSJ brings its mix of reporting and analysis to VR with this app, offering market data visualization, 360 degree interactive videos and more.
The Guardian VR
Explore the challenging side of VR with a range of apps that show the potential of VR journalism. Visit solitary confinement and explore the effects it can have on prisoners in one of the most popular mobile VR apps to date.
Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, from Framestore
This was one of Google’s big reveals when it lifted the lid on Daydream View last month. Tying into the new movie set in the world of Harry Potter, you become a wizard and can cast spells using your wand. This was created in partnership with VFX studio, Framestore.
Invasion!, from Baobab Studios
Baobab’s debut VR animation comes to yet another VR headset, having already launched on pretty much all of the others. This is a short, charming five minute film in which you follow a rabbit as he meets a pair of clumsy alien invaders and attempts to outsmart them before the world falls victim to them.
The Rose and I, from Penrose Studios
Allumette might be charming other headset owns at the moment, but Penrose Studios’ original VR animation, The Rose and I, is still not to be missed. Follow a story of friendship, love and loss in an unlikely adventure.
The news broadcasting giant debuts in VR with this Daydream exclusive app offering plenty of coverage with 360 degree videos. Explore your favorite topics and watched standard video content too.
PolyRunner, from Lucid Sight
A free experience that served as Lucid Sight’s first release back on Gear VR. Blast through vibrant worlds in a space ship, avoiding obstacles as you go. New to this version of the game is a first-person view that puts you in a cockpit.
A home design app that lets you decorate spaces with Wayfair products, letting you view them from any angle and decide what you like before you buy it. Save your favorite items and then purchase them via another app or website.
Wonderglade, from Resolution Games
Price: Free, with in-app purchases
Resolution Games is behind popular Gear VR titles like Solitaire Jester and Bait!. They’re known for exploring the in-app purchases side of mobile VR. For its Daydream debut it’s created a VR fairground in which you can experience different mini-games like golf and racing using the Daydream controller. Other activities are available at a price.
Mekorama, from Martin Magni
This appears to be a VR adaptation of a popular puzzle game from Martin Magni. In it, you help a robot navigate tiny dioramas by manipulating them. It reminds up of Ustwo Games’ Monument Valley in a way, though with a heavier emphasis of puzzles. A new take on the game using the LEGO franchise should also arrive before the end of the year.
Star Chart VR, from Escapist Games
You’ll probably recognize Star Chart from its various releases on other HMDs over the past year. It’s an educational app that teaches you a little bit about our solar system. On Daydream it comes with support for the new controller to help you explore plants and stars, including information on all 88 constellations. It’s an early example of what the new ecosystem can do for education.
Danger Goat, from nDreams
The makers of The Assembly come to Daydream with a new puzzle platformer. Guide a goat through several dangerous environments, tilting the Daydream controller to manipulate the environment.
Hunters Gate, from Climax Studios
A two-player co-op shooter that echoes back to arcade gameplay. Cast as two guns for hire, you and a friend will defend the town of Hunters Gate from a swarm of minions and demons straight out of hell. Cast magic spells to send monsters back where they came from, unlock upgrades and tackle endless levels with procedurally generated content.