Hello! Welcome back to five apps, where this week I’ve been fascinated by all things VR. This was all due to the announcement of Oculus Rift’s $600 price tag – news that made me realize that I may have to wait little longer than I hoped before getting my hands on one. So I started looking for more affordable options, and ended by getting immersed in Google Cardboard – and these are my five favorite virtual experiences that you can try today.
An obvious place to start with this is Google’s own Cardboard app, which primes your device for the hardware – and provides a range of demos. These include Explorer which lets you look at 360 degrees recreations of areas, Exhibit that lets you view museum style artifacts from any angle, and an introductory video for you to show the tech off to your friends! It’s a great place to start once you have your Cardboard compatible headset – but navigating its options with gestures can be a tricky.
But you don’t need to go hunting to find new VR apps, the changes are you already have one with the official YouTube app. This lets you search and view hundreds of videos recorded with a full 360 degree aspect, allowing you to view the video from any angle you choose. Perhaps you will take a trip to the ocean surrounded by huge sharks, or step into a video game trailer for Assassin's Creed Syndicate that lets you walk the streets of London with Jack the Ripper. Just search #360video, and enjoy.
One of the best way to enjoy VR, is to experience audio and visual contend designed specifically for it, which is I recommend VRse. This little app lets you download incredible short video clips that really feel like they allow you to experience the future of audio-visual entertainment. These videos are pieces recorded with high fidelity professional equipment, and dynamic stereo sound that moves with you – letting you see, hear, and almost feel the space to get an unprecedented sense of realism.
If you don’t believe that a phone strapped to your face can fully immersive you in a world then we have a challenge for you… turn down the lights and get a good pair of head phones. Then try a good VR horror game. I recommend Sisters, a tense story that puts you in the middle of a rustic living room where strange things start to happen. You will be shocked at just how visceral a virtual world can feel when a breeze in game seems to crawl across your skin in the real world – which is nothing compared to how you feel when something appears in the shadows behind you. Sisters in incredible and absorbing, but if you want something that looks a little better than the short promotions app for the movie Insidious: Chapter 3 is also incredibly creepy.
The New York Times has always been ahead of the curve in its adoption of new technologies, a trend they have continued with their standalone application, NYTvr. This little app provides a different and visually appealing way to view reports and watch videos on their website. According to the CEO of the American publication, they are already making money with this new technology – which means that you can expect more companies to adopt this strategy soon.
Google Cardboard, and compatible headset, low prices makes them an easy and affordable to dabble in this magical entertainment technology, so I recommend you giving every VR apps you can get your hands on in the Play Store a try… even if some of them do make you motion sick. And remember to let us know if you found any great ones that we missed. I will be back next week with the five best phone battery monitor apps, see you then.