VR hype is in overdrive. After decades of promises, sleek, consumer-grade virtual reality is finally real, thanks to companies like Oculus and HTC/Valve.
But, hype aside, the VR that you tried is probably very different from the high-end experience offered by the Oculus Rift or Vive. Instead of a rig that costs $1500, you probably experienced VR on a $5 cardboard set from Google (or NYT, McDonald’s, or a porn site).
Thanks to a piece of software called VRidge, you can now get a taste of what Oculus and Steam VR games are like on your cheap Cardboard set.
VRidge has two components – a PC client and an Android app. Oculus/Steam games run on a Windows PC and are streamed to your phone over WiFi.
Basically, VRidge (VR bridge?) is an Oculus/Vive headset emulator running on your phone. The PC handles all the heavy lifting, while the phone displays the content and captures and streams back head movements.
The idea is to give you a taste of what content for expensive VR headsets feels like, without having to pay big bucks for a dedicated device.
And now, for the limitations (you knew this part was coming, right?). VRidge is in beta and it’s obviously not intended as a full replacement for the real experience. That’s why developer Riftcat strongly advises against buying VR games to play over VRidge.
Due to the nature of the project, some games may not work properly, and your PC and smartphone hardware can also cause issues. Indeed, a number of users on Google Play have reported problems ranging from the app refusing to load, to low quality image, and choppy performance. If that worries you, there are also many highly positive reviews.
Finally, you still need a VR-ready PC, equipped with a modern graphics card, in order to play any game designed for Oculus or Steam VR. Full system requirements are available on the Riftcat page.
To try VRidge, you need to join the beta program here. Let us know your thoughts!