Recently, I asked if using a virtual reality headset, like Google’s new Daydream View, out in public was something you would consider doing. Being mobile and still being able to enjoy VR is certainly something worth entertaining, considering the headset is lightweight and can only really be enjoyed thanks to the smartphone tucked inside of it. But will people actually use it out in public?
I was curious about the possibility because of the commercial that Verizon airs, where they pull out the VR headset and someone starts enjoying the content therein. They do all that on the train, and, while I still have my doubts that anyone would actually do that, it certainly looked interesting.
VR is an element of the mobile industry that, while obviously a huge focus these days, isn’t something I was all that interested in personally. I’m old enough to remember the first attempt at adopting VR, back when it was too big to ever really be considered for home use.
When VR made its reentry into the popular consciousness, I just didn’t find myself all that interested.
That changed pretty recently, though, and when Google showed off the Daydream platform, and more recently the Daydream View, along with the Pixel and Pixel XL, I started to wonder if it should be something I started paying more attention to. So when my Pixel XL finally arrived, I immediately went out and picked up the Daydream View.
I’ll get my experience out of the way first: I think it’s a cool tool, especially when it comes to things like bringing ancient animals back to life, or visiting far-off locales in Google’s Street View. Playing a game like a kart racing title was pretty fun, too! Watching videos? Not so much. The display quality, even with a Pixel XL, isn’t fantastic, and watching a movie, and keeping the admittedly comfortable headset on for that length of time isn’t something I can see myself doing.
I gave Daydream and the View VR headset a real run earlier today, wearing it for about 45 minutes, and doing a wide range of things. 360-degree videos, movie trailers, a few minutes of a movie, and a few different games. I started to feel a little queasy as time went on, but I honestly chalked that up to being hungry. I never really got nauseous.
But the eye strain is definitely real, and it lasted for several hours after I stopped playing and took the headset off. It was remarkably uncomfortable – so much so that, unless something changes, I can fully admit that VR isn’t for me.
But then my daughters got to put the headset on, and they watched a dinosaur come to life, they visited the Taj Mahal, and they got to pretend they were wizards. And they loved every second of it. They were all smiles, and laughter, and as soon as I took the headset off they just wanted to wear it again.
That’s when I was really sold on the idea as a whole. Virtual reality is a great learning tool, and the experience is unique enough to grab attention in the right way. My kids wanted to go explore other areas of the globe, and wanted to see more dinosaurs, and seeing the excitement on their faces made me come to terms that VR really is pretty great.
Which makes it even more frustrating that apparently my eyes don’t want me to enjoy it.
But what about you? Have you tried out VR from your phone, or even in another platform, yet? What do you think of the technology and what it has to offer? Let me know!