Taking A Closer Look At Google’s VR Offerings

Google Cardboard is a cheap and accessible way to enjoy VR.

In a world where Virtual Reality (VR) offerings become increasingly numerous and advanced in their capabilities, it can be difficult to fully understand the difference between the varying systems.

Many of the globe’s largest tech companies have bet big on VR, with Facebook’s Oculus system seeming to lead the way. With that said, there are a number of excellent options out there for VR enthusiasts or those with enough curiosity to warrant spending a few bucks on a new experience.

Google’s relationship with VR has been a particularly interesting one. The tech behemoth placed considerable resources in the technology just a couple of years back before seemingly pulling away from VR in recent times. With a couple of VR systems currently on the market and a whole host of software to boot, Google is still very much invested in the technology.

In this article, we will take a look at Google’s two VR systems, Google Cardboard, and Google Daydream, before taking a look at the future relationship between Google and Virtual Reality technology.

So, without further, ado, let’s take a closer look at Google’s VR offerings…

Google Cardboard

Billed by the company as a simple and affordable way to enjoy VR, Google’s Cardboard VR system is a democratic and accessible VR kit that is surprisingly effective.

The idea is simple, users purchase a simple cardboard ‘viewer’ that acts as a holster for your mobile and a kind of goggle system mimicking that of fully integrated VR systems. Then, users download an app that opens up a variety of VR experiences designed specifically for the Cardboard system. 

The Earth VR experience is particularly astounding with Cardboard, allowing users to visit a variety of places across the globe. The effect is truly immersive and, in fact, nothing short of mesmerizing for such a simple piece of equipment. 

Many have argued that Google Cardboard is comparatively superior to Google’s much more expensive and hi-tech “Google Daydream” hardware. Although this is certainly up for debate, there are those who have been heavily critical of the companies’ flagship VR offering.
So, on that note…

Google’s Daydream VR System seems to have taken a backseat

Google Daydream

Billed by Google as a gateway to simple, high-quality VR experiences, Daydream allows for interesting Virtual Reality immersive explorations.

On the plus side, Daydream is comfortable, stylish, easy to use and, when all is said and done, very fun.

There have been some criticisms, however. Many of them were aimed at the fact that the Daydream is essentially the same as Google Cardboard with a few additional whistles and bells. The difference between the two, especially in terms of available experiences, is rather minimal. Some have been critical of the perceived laziness of Google in releasing a second non-integrated VR platform that relies on a compatible mobile device. Indeed, the fact that Google’s newest Pixel phone is not Daydream-compatible speaks volumes as to the brand’s attitude toward their flagship VR hardware and the whole Virtual Reality technology industry in general.

This brings us smoothly to our next point…

What does the future hold for Google and VR?

As we have mentioned, Google seems to be turning further and further away from VR as systems such as Facebook’s Oculus range provide stiff competition. One of the major advantages of the Oculus VR range is that they offer some of the most popular games around, including Arizona Sunshine, PokerStars VR, and Beat Saber.

Rather than focusing on their own VR platforms, Google has been busy creating playable games and immersive experiences for other systems such as the Oculus range. Whether this is an admission of inferiority on Google’s part remains to be seen. Yet the fact that they have not updated the Daydream for more than three years speaks volumes as to the companies’ thoughts regarding VR right now.

Indeed, it will be curious to see what direction Google’s relationship with VR takes and how this is affected by the continuous yet slow growth of the industry as a whole.

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