In the summer of 2015, I was in Montreal and on a whim visited Musée d’art contemporain. Inside the space, I saw a line about 15-people deep and decided to wait. Thirty minutes later, I walked into a small dark space, the size of a large walk-in closet. A museum employee helped me don a pair of massive glasses that were tethered to an unseen device, and the show began.
That installation was called “Occulus Rift,” and inside of three minutes I rose above a tropical treescape and up into outerspace. When the video ended, my head was tilted upwards toward the sky and my arms were outstretched as if reaching to touch something. The museum employee smiled and took the glasses from me in a “Yeah that happens all the time” manner. This was my first experience with virtual reality and I walked away from it all tingly and alive.
So when Google announced the release of the user-friendly Daydream View virtual reality glasses, I had to give it a shot. Daydream view works with the new Google Pixel smartphone, which is turning out to be a hit for Google. Next, I downloaded Daydream and set about tackling this virtual reality thing at home.
The glasses, though massive, were extremely comfortable, but as much as I wanted to lie down while viewing, it was better suited from an upright seated position. Handling the daydream magic wand (kind of like a remote control) is where I hit my first road bump. If you’ve ever tried to write while looking at your hand’s reflection in a mirror (crazy, but I had to do it in school), you’ll get a bit of my frustration with the wand.
Finally, and this is the big thing, I think Google should have given a limited window of free content. Real content. Not their fake try-me-out stuff, but an actual game or box office release. Though I did watch an interesting Stars Wars trailer, the content wasn’t super-compelling and when I did find something I wanted to see (cities of the world), I couldn’t necessarily access it inside my Daydream library. That being said, the possibility is there.
I’m not a gamer, but now I know how these under-$100 glasses (provided you already own the close to $1,000 phone) could be life altering for the mobile gamer. The goggles fit well, as comfortable with my prescription eye glasses as they are when I’m wearing contacts. The audio is great, too. Walk down your street or wander into a London neighbourhood where you’re planning to rent an Airbnb. Gentle reminder, the device you’re looking into is a PHONE too.
Thank you Google Daydream for the teaser. Now gimme more.
Check out this YouTube VR preview here.