VRCHIVE is a “content distribution platform” for 360-degree images; in other words, it is a hosting service that allows users, be they professional photographers or VR laymen, to view and show monoscopic and stereoscopic spherical images.

Ka’i Kau founded VRCHIVE three years ago; he was previously an organizer for Hawaii Virtual Reality and freelanced in web development, computer repair and related areas. Along with Director of Business Development Evan Young, he recently participated in a six-month venture accelerator as part of Blue Startups’ Cohort 5, where mentors Matthias Wagner, Bill Spencer, and Henk and Maya Rogers provided the company guidance. Since graduating from the program in June, the folks at VRCHIVE have begun a second, three-month accelerator as part of Boost VC’s Tribe 6 and added VRChat integration, meaning users can press the letter P to take 360-degree screenshots while using VRChat. These developments indicate that the company’s current focus is largely on continuing to develop its platform and product.

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On VRCHIVE, there are galleries to explore, both real and virtual, and all are worth spending some time with. Uploading, meanwhile, is more or less drag-and-drop simple. The company also offers a plugin for Unity 5.x called 360 Panorama Capture; it “captures a 360-degree equirectangular panorama of the player’s in-game surroundings and save/uploads it for later views” and “supports mono and stereo capture, image sequences for constructing 360 videos, anti-aliasing (MSAA and SSAA), image effects, deferred mode, and linear color space.” Importantly, the plugin offers the option to upload images directly to VRCHIVE. The company says that it hopes to support all engines eventually. D Coatzee, aka eVRydayVR developed the plugin, and wrote a detailed article for us recently detailing the project.

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Photo courtesy Vitaly

You may now be saying to yourself something along the lines of, Cool, but how can I look at these photos—are they only available on my comp or phone? The answer is that you can view images and use the service via Oculus DK1 and 2, can look at and upload images (up to 200mb) on your computer and can use the service via Android and iOS. VRCHIVE’s integration of WebVR functionality into their site allows DK2 users to browse photo galleries and the rest of the site from their headsets, an important development for a company looking to become the go-to platform for 360-degree image hosting and distribution.

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Photo source

VRCHIVE is vying for a foothold in what will inevitably become an essential part of the social VR experience: image sharing. They’re off to a strong start already, and their current accelerator should help them expand their service in the near future. Take a look at the site, upload something and let us know what you think below.


Lead photo courtesy Aaron D. Priest

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  • Don Gateley

    How does one view these with Google Cardboard? There is no mention of it at their site and no app for Android. Thanks.

    • VRCHIVE
      • Don Gateley

        Thank you. I signed up for something. Not sure what though.

        Having downloaded the special Chrome app and installing it I don’t know what to do next. Any suggestions?

        • VRCHIVE

          Once you have the special Chrome, just visit an image page and tap the icon bottom center. It’ll reveal the VR mode. Enjoy!

          • Don Gateley

            Thanks again. From http://alpha.vrchive.com/explore with the Chrome Shell browser I can peruse the archive. Touching an entry brings it up full screen. To get SBS HMD viewing the icon to touch is an up arrow at the bottom followed by the HMD icon that pops up. Very cool.

            The images are great and the rotation is responsive on my Nexus 7 with the yay3d viewer. I very much look forward to higher res displays and experiences like this remind me of just how much.

            I sure see why Cave1 is a favorite. :-)

  • NickHobgood

    Uploading to a computer is very slow going especially for the CGI game shots. I was waiting more than 4 minutes for one to load and gave up. As for the viewer it feels sluggish for use with arrow keys. Round.me and 360Cities have the best in user interface in my opinion. Looks promising for images if they would load in real time.

    • Don Gateley

      Nice content. The problem I see with Round.me is that there isn’t yet an iOS device with the resolution needed to make the experience enjoyable.