Google’s Daydream ecosystem for mobile VR is slowly checking off a list of the various types of experiences we’ve come to expect from headsets so far.
In Gunjack 2: End of Shift, we had the turret shooter, Need for Speed: No Limits VR gave us a cockpit racer, and there’s a wealth of 360 degree video hubs already available. This month, we finally got our first social VR app, too. vTime, from Liverpool-based Starship, is now available on the platform as a free download, making it the first VR app to connect across Daydream, Google Cardboard, Samsung’s Gear VR, and the Oculus Rift. vTime also supports standard Android and iOS phones.
This iteration of the service isn’t hugely different from the others, using Daydream’s controller as a pointer to interact with menus. You’ll still meet up with friends in different environments with personalized avatars and use voice chat to talk to them from a seated perspective. Like many, Starship hopes it’s still on the cusp of the VR social revolution. Recently, the app added the ability to record chats and export them for podcasts and other purposes.
We’re still waiting on other social VR apps like AltSpaceVR to hit Daydream, though the real test of these app’s viability will like be Facebook’s own social VR service, revealed at Oculus Connect 3 late last year. Social VR allows us to meet people from across the world as if they were really in the room with us, but today’s apps still lack crucial features largely due to hardware limitations. It’s going to be a long time before you want walk up to a perfect virtual representation of your friend and shake their hand.
vTime celebrated its first birthday on December 22nd 2016, and reached half a million downloads shortly before that milestone. Spaceship is looking to add the HTC Vive to the list of supported platforms in the near future too. Daydream, meanwhile, continues to grow with the addition of new phones and headsets in the coming months.