Being at EGX this weekend I got the chance to try out many new things including Google Cardboard.
Getting the chance to play the new and upcoming Just Cause 3 and also taking part in a tournament for it was a personal highlight. After playing, users received a free gift bag containing stickers, an energy drink discount card and last of all, a Just Cause 3 branded Google Cardboard. After a confusing 10 minute assembly (should have taken 2), I downloaded the Just Cause 3 WingSuit VR iOS application and decided to try out the Cardboard.
After selecting the VR mode on the app, I slid my phone into the allocated slot and lifted the Cardboard towards my eyes. Having a high resolution phone screen will help with this.
The first scene of the video is you flying around the island where Just Cause 3 is based. There is beautiful scenery to turn your head and look at including a vast amount of sea and a large amount of mountains and Greenland.
After a few seconds, the main character of the game enters, riding on top of an aeroplane towards the island. Vivid colours of the plane make you want to turn around and look everywhere which is a really weird sensation when sitting down or standing still. Both ends of each wing are visible when turned and the tail of the plain is also.
Suddenly, the character begins to fire rockets, this is where the action begins. After many scenes of action and blazing guns, the video begins to become to an end as the character exits battle and parachutes himself to safety. The screen then transitions to the sky and an extravagant Just Cause 3 logo appears promoting the game.
The Cardboard itself is an extremely clever idea from Google and could even challenge devices such as the Oculus Rift for people on a budget.
The simplistic design is very impressive and could even be assembled by kids for a cheaper way of attempting Virtual Reality. The most complicated part of the Cardboard are the lenses that deliver the optical illusion of the screen being much larger than it is. Feeling as if you are zoomed in on the screen offers a very calming effect that you are indeed inside the applications and are a part of it.
There are a few more VR games available to try on the Apple App Store including a rollercoaster simulator and a horror game or two.
A huge advantage of the Cardboard over electrical headsets is the flexibility of it. With the Oculus Rift, multiple wires are needed to provide a good gaming experience. The Google Cardboard requires the device itself, a mobile device and headphones (optional).
Walking around can make you feel even more included in the games and can mean a much more comfortable and realistic gaming experience is available.
Whilst the Oculus Rift is clearly superior, the Google Cardboard is an enormously fun product for people on a tight budget with a mobile device in hand.
Many more games and applications are also included on the Rift and whilst there are not too many VR downloads available App stores, there is surely going to be many more added over time with devices such as the Google Cardboard coming on to the market.
While the Cardboard is only a start for Google and devices likewise, it is a huge step forward for gaming and Virtual Reality.
It brings a whole new concept to mobile gaming and it will not be a surprise if many people choose the Google Cardboard as their next new toy especially considering the price difference between it and its competitors.
Overall, Google did a great job with this product and it should be widely recognised.
Good job Google.