Back when Google first launched Cardboard into the Play Store, it was viewed as little more than an experiment, a neat little gimmick that would never make it to the mainstream. This week, however, marks the launch of the proper, version 1.0 product that Cardboard was laying the groundwork for; Daydream. Compatible only with the Pixel and Pixel XL right now – with Nexus device and more devices to support it soon – Daydream is a platform that is finding its legs still, but rather than walking as Cardboard did, Google is hitting the ground running.
Unsurprisingly, a bunch of VR focused apps have hit the Playstore. Here’s a look.
This app will serve as the central hub for finding and enjoying Daydream-compatible content. It’s pretty straightforward in that it offers up a neat VR-friendly user interface to access content you own and find more at Google Play. It also has a status screen which lets you access settings and shows the time, date, battery life, connection status, and calibration settings. When not used in VR mode, the app functions as a normal user interface on your phone so you can find all the content you want before strapping it onto your face.
Simply put, YouTube VR will let you browse the YouTube website and watch uploaded videos in 3D VR setting and watch both 3D 360 videos and standard rectangular videos. Videos will stay front and center and will allow you to switch between voice and keyboard controls for ease of usage. You’re even getting the ability to view videos while you continue to browse for more to check out after you’re finished. Thankfully it seems Google didn’t pull any punches here with full support for subscriptions, playlists, and watch history.
Google Arts & Cultures VR
As the name suggests, this is an app that’s all about getting up close and personal with the more culutral things in life, such as great works of art across the centuries. Some of these paintings allow users to zoom in and get a closer look at them, and considering that a lot of these works are those in expensive museums spread out all over the world, it’s nice to see Google bring them to us in this immersive fashion. On top of all this, there’s also audio guides for some of the works, and while the amount of content right now feels a little limited, it’s a pretty decent launch app to go with the new platform. If you think of a virtual museum building and tour thereof, then you’d get the general idea of what this app will be like to use.
Apart from these big releases right from Google, several other VR apps made their way to the Playstore earlier.
It’s CNN… in VR. Alongside your usual droves of CNN video content that can be enjoyed n a cinema-like capacity, the app also has specially curated 360-degree video content for news coverage, investigative pieces, and other featured content.
The Guardian VR isn’t a news app like CNN’s. Instead, it’s more about sharing experiences from different reports, experiences you wouldn’t truly grasp unless you were immersed in them. There’s a sewer, a solitary confinement cell, and more pieces will be coming every month.
This one was a given. Use your Daydream VR headset to view Street View maps in 360 degrees, just like you’ve been able to do on almost any other device to date.
Daydream VR Games
Fantastic Beasts was hailed as one of Daydream View’s launch partners and the collaboration between Google and Warner Bros has already showed up in more than one place. This is the official game-slash-app though, where you can transport yourself into the J.K. Rowling universe, interact with beasts, cast spells, and pretend once more that you’re a wizard just as talented, if not more, than Harry Potter.
Hunters Gate is one of the most intricate games available on Daydream now. You’re in a demon-invaded world and your role is to defend the town of Hunters Gate from these demons then retaliate by invading their own world. Price of entrance: $5.99.
The Turning Forest premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and now it’s been transformed into a virtual reality experience where you follow a fantastic creature on a weird journey. The app advises you to plug in some headphones to enjoy the spatial audio and use the Daydream controller to make music with different elements of the environment.
Mekorama is a cute little 3D game that’s part Monument Valley puzzle, part Minecraft building in some form. The non-VR version came in May of this year and has been appreciated for its adorable graphics and gameplay, including the availability of new content thanks to user-generated dioramas. It costs $3.99.
Do you have a Daydream View? Have you tried any of these apps or games? Let me know in the comments below.