Good Game: Is Virtual Reality Having Its Mobile Moment?

By Brian Crecente
Tribune News Service

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Tom Harding, director of VR and immersive products at Samsung says “Mobile phones aren’t only relevant; they’re critical to the growth of VR.” So apparently, all VR will not be created equal. Keep your eyes peeled for watered-down versions of reality headsets for mobile phones.

Tribune News Service

When it comes to emerging technology, convenience always seems to supplant just about everything else.

Apple’s original iPhone is the greatest example of that.

It’s not a very good phone, it’s not that great a camera, the games on it can be aggressively bad, creations that have more in common with a slot machine than Pac-Man, and yet here we are: Camera sales are down, seemingly everyone owns a smartphone, and game sales on the device are astronomical.

It’s not that people are technology masochists; it’s that unlike a camera or a gaming machine, you can slip the iPhone into your pocket and it does a perfectly fine job of replacing both of those things. Not a great job, just a passable one.

And now, it seems that virtual reality is beginning to have its mobile moment.

HTC and Oculus, creators of two of the most popular high-end, computer-powered virtual reality headsets, are also busy supporting the much less grandiose VR that can be delivered with mobile phones.

Samsung’s Gear VR, which is powered by Oculus software and runs on a Samsung phone, has been on the market and doing remarkably well for more than two years. Just last month, HTC, which co-developed the powerful Vive VR headset, announced it was rolling out a storefront for phone VR software in China.

And earlier this month, Google launched out a felt-covered, squishy VR headset called the Daydream View.

Why are the companies that have spent so much on creating high-end virtual reality headsets also working to bring a watered-down version of the medium to phones?

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