VRidge streams PC VR games to smartphone

Virtual reality on the PC is an expensive proposition today, requiring both a high-end headset and a powerful computer, but a new app promises to make the headset side of the equation much cheaper.

With RiftCat’s VRidge app, users can stream VR games from a PC to a smartphone over Wi-Fi. Instead of using the $600 Oculus Rift or $800 HTC Vive, you slot the phone into a cheaper VR headset like Google Cardboard (about $20) or Samsung’s $99 Gear VR. The app is available now as a beta for users of RiftCat’s PC software.

VRidge only supports rotational tracking at the moment. The company claims to have a “complete runtime replacement” for VR titles that could theoretically enable positional tracking in the future, but this creates its own dilemma: Some PC VR titles won’t work with RiftCat’s software. (Another solution, Trinus VR, is also available without those supposed “low-level hooks,” The Verge notes.)

Of course, there are catches. Even under the best conditions, streaming games over a local network creates latency, which in VR is a major contributor to motion sickness. While RiftCat claims to only introduce a frame or two of lag according to The Verge, that still amounts to at least 30 milliseconds, and probably more, of network-induced lag, not counting any delay in rendering the image on the screen. (Oculus VR has spoken of 20ms as the sweet spot for VR latency.)

Why this matters: Although streaming to a smartphone won’t give you a true VR-on-PC experience, it could be a cheap way to see what kind of software experiences would be available if you splurged for a high-end headset.

And given the shipping delays for both Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, a cardboard headset might be your only option for now anyway.

You may also like...