Google Cardboard is a great way to give people a glimpse at the potential of VR, but it’s as low-end as the tech gets. A brand new app might change all of that.
RiftCat has this month launched VRidge, an Android app that allows you to play PC-based VR titles designed for the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive on your Google Cardboard kit. To do this, you’ll also need to head to RiftCat’s website, download a client, and then pair that given phone up with the PC to select a VR title either from your Oculus library or through your own HDD to stream onto that phone. Then you can simply insert your phone into Google Cardboard or any approved HMD and play the content untethered in mobile VR.
You can see the concept at work in the video above, though you’ll need to keep a few things in mind. Firstly, RiftCat is in Beta right now so any technical hiccups you might encounter are to be expected. What you won’t be able to do is any kind of position-tracked movement for Room Scale experiences on the Vive, or moving your head in any direction on either that HMD or Rift. You’ll still be able to tilt and twist your head to look around environments, of course. It will be interesting to see if RiftCat is able to come up with any solutions for this in the future.
People are already experimenting with the system, though. Below you can see YouTube user Vr Maniac get Stress Level Zero’s Vive exclusive, Hover Junkers, working with the app, using Leap Motion hand tracked to simulate the position-tracked controllers. What you get is sort of a very, very early glimpse at where VR could be headed in the future; high-end experiences running on untethered HMDs with some position-tracked input. It’s all very makeshift but no less fascinating to see in this primitive stage.
As for VRidge itself, RiftCat hopes to soon add an iOS version of the device. The current app is free to download, meaning you could feasibly try out some Rift and Vive experiences without having to throw down the $599/$799 respectively for the actual HMDs. Emphasis on the word ‘try’, though.