It goes without saying that VR was a huge topic of discussion at the Game Developer’s Conference last week. For starters, Playstation announced the much-lower-than-the-Rift-and-Vive price for Playstation VR; along with Oculus demoing all the titles coming to the Rift after it launches at the end of the month. But another thing that various journalists got their hands on was a feature for Steam VR, the software powering the HTC Vive, called Steam VR Theatre Mode.
Revealed earlier this month, Theatre Mode essentially creates a virtual cinema where you can play your games or movies. You read that correctly: it creates a screen within a 3D VR environment for you to view 2D content on. Does your head hurt yet? Wait until you see what it’s like using it.
OK, it’s not that bad, but the idea of playing games on the illusion of a giant screen being viewed on a smaller screen strapped to one’s face is still pretty trippy. There hasn’t been a lot of official videos coming out of the conference of this feature in action, but a YouTube user named Brad Lynch recently uploaded a quick snippet of his experience with it.
Looks like it does exactly what it says on the tin.
In the video’s description, Lynch says he found reading text to be the biggest issue, and you can certainly see why. I had no chance reading that Twitch stream or any of the specifics during his gameplay session. I’m no expert, but I assume this is because once you take the peripherals of the virtual environment into account, the theatre screen is a lower resolution than the original image?
But still, the whole idea of the virtual home theatre is an interesting one. Netflix has an equivalent for the Rift and Samsung Gear VR, placing you in a log cabin filled with artwork themed around their programming and a giant TV.
In this day and age of chasing after bigger and bigger TVs, desperately trying to create our own personal cinemas, could the next step be much smaller screens strapped to our faces? Wouldn’t that be ironic.