virtual reality, 360 video, mobile VR, mobile, mobile virtual reality, google cardboard, storyup studios, oculus rift, sarah hill

Virtual Reality is going mobile

If you've never experienced virtual reality, you should make it a part of your own reality very soon. Recently, Sarah Hill of StoryUp Studios, a virtual reality production company, stopped by our office to show us some of the latest in VR, from Google Cardboard to Oculus Rift and a handful of headsets in between.

Although the experience of Oculus Rift is the gold standard of immersive video (I forgot I was in a room full of people. Skydiving in Norway seemed THAT real!), Google Cardboard makes VR accessible to the masses. For $20, you can buy a headset, or you can make one yourself for only a couple dollars.

“Cardboard aims at developing accessible virtual reality (VR) tools to allow everyone to enjoy VR in a simple, fun and natural way.”

Even at Mobile World Congress, virtual reality outshined the latest smartphones. Although there were some headsets that needed to be plugged into a PC to work (not very mobile at all, as The Verge says), many were phone-based, like Google Cardboard.

For example, Samsung showed off its latest version of Gear VR, which works with Samsung's Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. “It’s an improved version of the concept the company first introduced last fall, and it represents what may be the most likely way consumers will first experience modern VR systems,” Dan Seifert writes.

“The dominant way most consumers will experience virtual reality will be on mobile devices.”

“PCs and dedicated machines will always have more power, but at some point, graphics become ‘good enough’ on a mobile device and none of that matters anymore,” says Max Cohen, head of mobile at Oculus VR, the virtual reality startup bought by Facebook this year for $2 billion.

Of course, phones still have some shortcomings, from overheating to battery life and positional tracking. So, there are still things to work through, Cohen says.

“Will [VR's move to mobile] be in two years’ time? Five years? Ten? I don’t know. But it will happen. You can’t surpass the beauty of being untethered.”

We already know we can use our phones to tell amazing stories, but here's another way we can use our phones to consume amazing stories in an entirely new way.