We know that virtual reality shares many aspects with video games, but at this point in development, there are a number of key differences, not least of which is the issue of sociability. For as long as video games have been around, you have been able to play with friends. From Pong to Tekken, you can challenge others to play with or against you. And since the emergence of online play, and the popularity of games like Halo and Call of Duty, we have been able to engage with players who needn’t be in the room with us. Even with single player mode, your friends can gather round, and see exactly what you are doing on the screen.
For VR users however, a far more isolated experience lies in store. Strap on your headset, and you completely block out the external world. You cannot see or hear your friends, and most of the time, they cannot see what you are doing, as you are totally lost in the world the mobile headset projects for you. This is great in terms of having an immersive experience, but not so good when come to having a social one.
But the Daydream 2.0, currently being developed by Google aims to try to solve this particular problem. The headset aims to make it easier to share your VR experiences with those around you. Using the Chromecast device, the images from your headset can be displayed onto a TV screen, something previously impossible with other mobile VR devices.
The headset will also make better use of YouTube VR. Traditional YouTube videos can be enjoyed with friends on one screen, which up until now, hasn’t been achievable with mobile VR devices. Daydream 2.0 allows you to share your viewing experience with other. It also includes other features to make it easier to share, for example screen capturing. This is a feature that is common on modern day games consoles, but not on VR goggles. The experience will be comparable to that of a HTC Vive, or an Oculus Rift for example, but will not require the powerful external computer that those systems do.
Google Daydream 2.0 will aim to boost the wider appeal of VR to beyond its current level, and the reason is the increased sociability. Up until now, standalone VR of this type has almost exclusively been in the realm of hard core gamers, who are willing to be a little more isolated if it translates to a more immersive experience. This doesn’t appeal to everyone, and thus, people don’t want to invest a lot of money in something which they may not make full use of. The only concern, which Google haven’t alleviated, is whether this increase in power and usability will result in a different aspect of the technology being lowered in quality, such as resolution or battery life, for example.
Google Daydream 2.0 aims to solve one of the problems that has been holding VR back from exploding into the public domain more successfully – the issue of sociability. You will be able to share your VR experience with your friends, something that gamer’s haven able to do for ages, but has been of limits for VR users. The only question is whether this new development will have a detrimental effect on other facets of the overall experience.