This weekend I went back to the NYC Samsung Showcase. Anyone who wants to experience VR should go now. The long lines are gone and there are often empty seats in the VR Tunnel waiting for occupants.
Since there wasn’t any line, I was able to indulge in as much VR as my eyes could take before they screamed for mercy.
That turned out to be nearly an hour.
I noted what I saw in my CLIE. But my CLIE suffered a disaster over the weekend and the list I made was sent to Electron Hell!
This post will be briefer than my original intent. I can’t recall everything I saw.
This is the most important bit, right off the bat.
In Samsung’s Milk VR Content Spec guidelines, they state:
Huh? I’ve got news for Samsung, one of the VRs I saw mixed 2D and 3D and each worked just fine!
It was this:
Which is not the version I saw (this one is flat 360) — see the link in the YouTube description for that one.
It makes no sense for me to critique its content. These are the caveman days of VR and criticism isn’t important right now. Being able to try and see experiments that push VR forward is what matters. And this VR matters for anyone who wants to see 2D and 3D mixed in VR.
A lot of what I saw was 360-video. A “tour” of France that wound up underneath the Eiffel Tower. Scenes from France that were hyperkinetic and quick cut from scene to scene. A helicopter flight over the Swiss Alps. Skydiving onto a beach bordered by high-rise apartments (or condos, or hotels).
Remember the raging debate people in VR have over whether VR should include 360-video or not?
Here’s the bottom line as I see it.
It doesn’t matter right now!
VR screen resolution is such shit that I’m not sure most people will be able to distinguish between the two!
And there’s this too: That 360-video of the skydive nearly made me motion sick. The descent isn’t a straight line. There’s some spin to it. And I could feel “something” happening in my body. But I wasn’t sure what I was experiencing so I watched it a second time. And yeah, my body was going into Nausea Mode. It was mild but still. If a 360-video can have that effect, who the hell cares that it wasn’t 3D?
Everyone needs to remember my first reaction to VR: Virtual Reality: The Biggest Thing Ever, Ever, Ever.
Screen resolution didn’t matter to me because I was overwhelmed by the newness of it.
But repeated viewings made me see it as it is: Samsung Gear VR: My Critical View Of It And VR.
Screen resolution is shit. That screendoor effect is something I too-often just can’t ignore:
We really need screens at 4K for Mobile VR. That everyone has to make do with 2K (some people are stuck at 1K; pity them!) probably won’t matter initially. But the jump to 4K screens needs to happen within the next year because I think more people will, in time, become annoyed by the low resolution too.
Another annoyance is when VR has to be streamed. One of them was this:
Streaming is an absolutely miserable experience. Everything degrades to very low resolution, like a visual of William Gibson’s description of pixel decay. To guarantee a good VR experience, people will need to download to local storage.
And it’s going to be fun when companies start releasing phones with 4K screens. Because for the best VR, people will require 4K files. And that will require a dramatic increase in bandwidth. Especially for VRs that are stereoscopic.
Lastly, I also saw this:
I saw this initially flat via the JauntVR app on a borrowed Samsung Galaxy Tab A 9.7. I had to paw the screen to move around.
Finally seeing it in VR wasn’t impressive to me.
I don’t want to rain on Baobab’s parade, but what kind of world am I living it when people see a wee white rabbit as a novel character? Didn’t any of those people ever see Bugs Bunny cartoons? The bunny is nothing more than a mute Bugs. After all the hype for this VR, I was as unimpressed seeing it in the Gear VR headset as I was seeing it flat on a tablet.