Last night I fought a dragon. I watched as he flew above me, winding his way around the columns in the cave I had wandered into. I could see the shape of a chest in the corner, it’s shadow against the wall, light coming from within. It wasn’t the time to be distracted with the giant Wyrm flying above me, watching to see what my next move would be.
I checked out my surroundings to see whether there was any area that would offer me an advantage. I ran to an area where I could put my back into a corner so I wouldn’t have to worry about being attacked from behind and waited for him to descend. I looked down at the long sword in my hand and gazed at the blade, flickering with magic.
I didn’t have to wait long. He dove, wings unfurling to intimidate me with his size as he opened his mouth to reveal rows of sharp teeth, and then took a deep breath to feed the furnace he had within……
I looked down at the longsword in my hand and gazed at the blade, flickering with magic.Daydream adventurer
An hour later the dragon was defeated, and I was now in possession of an even greater sword that would allow me to delve deeper than before.
With the click of a button and a new selection……
The town had given in to the outlaws. Over the years they had taken it over and filled the saloon with their raucous laughter and drunken carousing. That was going to change. Sheriff Alan was in town. I lifted my six shooter and prepared for the wave that was about to come.
By now I would hope that it is obvious that I am immersing myself into a new technology that isn’t so new from a conceptual standpoint. Virtual Reality has been attempted for years, but has never gained a large following. There have been many different reasons, but price has definitely been a factor. Even now we have two VR releases that will cost in the neighborhood of 550 USD and the competition comes in closer to 799 USD. This doesn’t include computer, and we are not talking about a traditional system but more about a gaming machine that can easily cost another few thousand dollars. Now they deliver a graphical experience that can only be achieved by spending a lot of money. This, in my estimation, will keep them in the hands of the hobbyist and not make a large dent in the traditional home market.
Sony also has their headset that is 400 USD on top of the price of a PS4. I haven’t tried these ones yet but with Sony’s track record I am sure that they deliver. If there are all these other products competing for the VR space, then what makes the Daydream from Google so compelling?
There is more than just one reason that I can see this product becoming #1 in a short period of time.
Price. The Daydream can be ordered online for 99 USD. I received mine in 3 days. For that price you get a cloth covered and very well made set of VR goggles that come with a Bluetooth controller that can snap into the face plate for storage. The controller is rechargeable so you don’t even need batteries.
Simplicity. Once you have the latest version of Android (currently 7.1) then you will have the Daydream app. Pop your Daydream ready phone (currently only the Pixel phones from Google but that will change in the next few months) into the headset and the NFC tag will automatically load up the software to get it ready for you to put on your head and tighten up the straps. Put the controller in your dominant hand, and get ready to go through a very simple setup and training session. That’s it.
Existing market. Android is far and above the most popular OS on smartphones regardless of what Apple has to say. This means that there are already millions of people that are Daydream compatible.
Portability. Bring the goggles. That is it. No computer needed, wires to hookup, or other device to haul around. All you need is what you carry around currently, and the goggles.
Experience. Wow. This does a great job of immersing you in the experience. I mentioned a few games that I tried out, but when you factor in the VR ready applications that currently exist such as YouTube VR, an array of products that were tested and built for Google Cardboard (a cheap prequel) and the existing games and applications that can be modified to work with Daydream, you now have an ecosystem that is growing daily.
Comfort. Of all the headsets out there, this is by far the most comfortable, and the lightest. I had no issues wearing this for a half hour and longer and know I was feeling the Vive becoming cumbersome not long after trying it on. This is easy to adjust, and was built with comfort in mind.
This product is just hitting stores now and reviews have all been positive. Many of us don’t need, or can’t afford, the large VR systems that require both space, a powerful computer, and thousands of dollars. Most of us though have a smartphone, and can spend a hundred dollars without it hurting too much. I loved browsing through my picture library when the screen filled up my view and I could pan around the scene. I have put the Daydream on others, some of them gamers, and watched the smile come on as they realized how immersive it was. If smiles were measured based on dollars spent, this product would have one of the highest ratios of all. There are a few downsides, none of them deal breakers.
Your phone will warm up. This takes a lot of horsepower and your phone will notice. If you have battery issues, you will want to be fully charged when you start. You will also want to carry around some headphones for that full experience as the speaker on the phone doesn’t do justice to the visuals in front of your eyes. Some people may have some issues with vertigo as you will get the feeling of motion even sitting down.
That being said, once you try this out, and have a compatible phone, you will be pulling out your wallet to bring one home. I thought I had left my gaming days behind me, but now with the ability to Daydream, I may visit a few worlds again.
Just for a short visit.
At least till the battery runs out.