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VRidge: Try before you buy for VR

Smartphones and devices like Samsung's Gear VR can allow users to try VR gaming at a much lower cost. (Source: Samsung)
Smartphones and devices like Samsung's Gear VR can allow users to try VR gaming at a much lower cost. (Source: Samsung)
The app can use smartphones to mimic expensive VR headsets and seems to be able to run on lower-end hardware.

Consumers that want to experience PC-based virtual reality but find the cost to entry prohibitively expensive may be in luck. The VRidge app from software developers at RiftCat allows users to play VR games on their PC while using their compatible smartphone as the VR headset.

VRidge syncs the gameplay with smartphones, displaying the VR screens on the phone’s display and using the phone’s gyroscope and accelerometer to determine head position. The phone can be connected either wirelessly or through a USB cable. The experience currently uses traditional mouse and keyboard or gamepad controls, but the development community is working on bringing motion-based controls (via devices like the Leap Motion and PS Move) into the mix.

Interestingly, the minimum requirements seem quite low. According to RiftCat, users only need an Intel Core i5-2500 processor (released in 2011), 4 GB of RAM, and either an NVIDIA GTX 650 or AMD Radeon 7750, both of which were low-powered GPUs released in 2012. Smartphones will need to run at least Android 5.0 and have 2.4 GHz WiFi or a USB 2.0 connection. Currently, Intel-powered smartphones like the Zenfone 2 are not supported. These hardware requirements are a bit surprising, given the high-end hardware that VR gaming typically requires. Full requirements (as well as a list of verified smartphones) can be found here. 

The software has been in development since the first half of 2016 and is now available for download. Interested users can download a trial version that limits gameplay sessions to 10 minutes. A $15 purchase buys the full version and allows for unlimited gameplay. A few phones listed on RiftCat’s site have been verified to be compatible, but interested users should download the trial before purchasing to ensure compatibility with their Android phone. More information can be found on RiftCat’s site.


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Sam Medley, 2016-12- 6 (Update: 2016-12- 6)