VR startup RiftCat has developed technology that allows VR headsets the capability to run PC VR games. The VRidge emulator works by making a user’s computer recognise their phone as a HTC Vive headset.
The system works through connecting two apps, one on the user mobile and one on the desktop. When the two apps connect, the user’s mobile VR headset can be used to play whatever games are on the desktop.
The two apps can be connected through a USB or over a wifi connection, meaning that the VRidge sends the image from the computer to the phone as a high quality vide stream. The phone in turn sends back user movement data.
So, theoretically, a user armed with a simple Google Cardboard and a smartphone could begin having the same experiences with those with much more expensive PC VR headsets, including full support for 3D stereoscopic view and head movement.
You can see a demonstration video here.
Breaking the cost barrier
VRidge currently works with HTC Vive supported games as well as those from Oculus Rift, and Android 5.x phones. While the software is compatible with OpenVR standard, a big problem is that games that rely very heavily on hand controllers will definitely not translate perfectly.
Notable titles that can be played through the emulator with no problems are Minecraft, Elite Dangerous and Subnautica, amongst others.
RiftCat was set up in 2015 by a group of students who want to overcome the biggest barrier to wider VR engagement:
“We wanted to play VR games with our friends and family without pushing them to a huge hardware expenses. That’s why we come up with VRidge idea. An inexpensive way to enter PC VR gaming.”
Since the the initial beta release in March 2016, the company has reached around 200,000 registered users.