vTime, a social VR platform for Gear VR, currently features rich and surprisingly well-optimized environments, but in a bid to capitalize on the boom of users soon to come to VR, vTime will soon be filling out their services to include shared video and support for Google Cardboard.
Starship, the studio behind vTime, was present at this year’s MWC in Barcelona where they showed me what’s next for their ‘sociable network’. I sat down with product development director Paul Hollywood for my second time—the first time being a guided tour of the vTime alpha where he showed me the expansive, natural environments unique to Gear VR’s newest social VR platform.
This time in the flesh at MWC 2016 in Barcelona, Hollywood took me through some yet unrevealed spaces, including a corporate board room overlooking a gleaming city with a screen for slides, and an intimate theater space demonstrating vTime’s take on shared video. Although they’re keeping the lid tight on specifics—especially on timeframe for its release—files like images, videos and 360 photos would all be uploadable to Starship’s cloud storage, which the vTime team maintains would let you view or share your own content with anyone you want.
Next I was shown a preview build of vTime Cardboard running on Hollywood’s iPhone. The difference here, besides the regular downgrade in headtracking expected with the phone’s less sensitive IMU, was the 2D mode that can let you chat, or manage your contacts without the need of a headset. That and anyone with a smartphone could download it and begin chatting with friends across a multitude of devices.
Hollywood underlined that with vTime wants to be a truly device-agnostic social platform, and that with their current hands-free approach to social VR that they’ll be able to keep a consistency of user experience in their current stage of growth. vTime is said to be targeting all major consumer VR headsets, but there’s no word on the time frame.
In search of a solid userbase, vTime will be releasing more environments as they gear up for a critical moment for the Gear VR platform: the March 11 release of the Galaxy S7, which is coming free with a Gear VR headset.
This is a huge step for mainstream adoption of VR. This is going to multiply the VR userbase by many times! https://t.co/FX0egR1muY
— Palmer Luckey (@PalmerLuckey) February 23, 2016
Social apps like Oculus Social and AltspaceVR will be feeling the upsurge in usership too, and with ease of use and cross-compatibility being the name of the game to capture the most users, the next few months should be an exciting spectacle to watch and see what roles these platforms fill on their journey to the next big leap in virtual reality technology.