There are a number of musical VR apps on the way, including two from Harmonix — Rock Band for Oculus Touch and Music VR for PlayStation. While those games will let you play on stage like a real rock star or animate a scene of dancers in time with the music, a new VR app on the way next month appears to be a more fully featured VR music studio.
It’s called The Music Room and when it goes on sale for $129 it’ll come bundled with Bitwig, live performance and studio software. Overall, the package looks a lot like Garageband for VR. If you want to get a better idea how The Music Room works, the latest mixed reality trailer embedded above shows exactly what it’s like to play a couple instruments in VR. Instruments include the drums, laser harp, pedal steel guitar and a chord harp. The Australian-based developers are showing off the app at NAMM, a music industry trade show being held in Nashville this week.
At $129, The Music Room will sit in a higher pricing category from existing VR apps. The most expensive VR games right now cost around $60 and most are priced significantly below that. Tilt Brush from Google costs $30 while Virtual Desktop is $15, both examples of well known non-gaming software for VR. If musicians can use The Music Room and the bundled Bitwig software to realistically simulate an instrument’s sound, while allowing them to play naturally, $129 should be a bargain compared with buying any one of the real-life instruments.
Music simulation is a very hard problem and bringing the artistry that’s possible with real-world instruments into a virtual world is a serious challenge. Human hands and fingers are capable of incredible dexterity and it’s unclear to what extent current generation hardware will be able to recognize that kind of precision movement.
I look forward to giving The Music Room a try, and seeing what my more musically-talented friends might be able to produce with it.